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South Africa commemorates Sharpeville Massacre of 1960


[Image: _47508821_008919124-1.jpg] The 1960 Sharpeville Massacre drew worldwide condemnation

South Africans have marked the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, a turning point in the nation's liberation struggle.
Sixty-nine people died on 21 March 1960 when police gunned down unarmed people protesting against apartheid laws.
The dead were honoured as part of Human Rights Day, with church services, the laying of wreaths, and a speech by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Critics say people in the township still face poor living conditions.
People gathered at the Roman Catholic church in Sharpeville, and laid wreaths at the cemetery on the graves of those killed in the massacre.
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Reverend Mary Shenkane, an eyewitness, and Ma Phethane, a survivor, remember the massacre

Mr Motlanthe spoke to survivors and relatives of the victims at the Garden of Remembrance.
Later addressing a crowd of about 5,000, he said: "We say never, never and never again will a government arrogate itself powers of torture, arbitrary imprisonment of opponents and the killing of demonstrators."
"In the same breath, we state that our democratic government undertakes to never ignore the plight of the poor, those without shelter, those without means to an education and those suffering from abuse and neglect," he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
Defining moment
The Sharpeville Massacre is remembered as one of the bloodiest moments of the liberation struggle, the BBC's Karen Allen reports from Johannesburg.
[Image: o.gif] [Image: start_quote_rb.gif] Our lives started changing with Nelson Mandela's release, but people are still financially struggling and finance is still in white people's hands [Image: end_quote_rb.gif]


Abram Mofokeng, Sharpeville resident

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Sharpeville recalls 1960 massacre
On This Day 1960: Sharpeville

Fifty years ago, South African police opened fire on demonstrators in Sharpeville township, 50km (30 miles) south of Johannesburg.
Sixty-nine people died and at least 180 were injured - many shot in the back as they were trying to flee the scene.
They had gathered outside the police station to protest against pass laws, which required all blacks to carry identity documents - known as pass books - at all times.
No police were ever convicted over the killings.
The Sharpeville massacre led to the banning of the African National Congress (ANC) and its rival liberation movement, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), and signalled the start of the underground armed resistance in South Africa.
Today, many in the township are disappointed that the ANC has failed to improve their lives since it came to power, our correspondent says.
Many of the shops in Sharpeville have closed down, unemployment persists and there is a sense among some residents that basic public services are inadequate.
"Our lives started changing with Nelson Mandela's release, but people are still financially struggling and finance is still in white people's hands," Abram Mofokeng told Associated Press news agency.
He was 21 when the massacre took place.
In recent weeks the ANC has faced protests from other communities in South Africa, who fear that cronyism and corruption have overshadowed the party's agenda.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8578549.stm
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/callaloo/v0...ttler.html

Callaloo
Volume 32, Number 1, Winter 2009

E-ISSN: 1080-6512 Print ISSN: 0161-2492

DOI: 10.1353/cal.0.0315
Reviewed by
Meta L. Schettler
Wilderson, Frank B., III. Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid. Boston: South End Press, 2008.

Quote:Wilderson taught classes at two universities in South Africa, the University of the Witswatersrand and Vista University, both in Johannesburg, and he helped organize protests by student groups while simultaneously working with an underground cell in MK. From his first trip to South Africa in 1989, as an outsider, Wilderson painfully predicted (using Fanon) the cooption of the ANC’s radicalism by liberal establishment forces and Nelson Mandela’s probable role in allowing that cooption. South Africans rarely received Wilderson’s Marxist critiques of Mandela willingly, which is understandable, but in the end Wilderson’s analysis proved prophetic. Wilderson recalls one memorable incident [End Page 285] which even put his life at risk, when, during a secret meeting with an MK cadre, the comrade slammed his head against the steering wheel of his car and held him at gunpoint in response to Wilderson’s commentary on Mandela. Wilderson recalls his thoughts in that moment, “Breathe, Frank, breathe. I knew that he had a black belt in karate and I could feel it in his firm, expert grip pinching my neck. Guess you don’t do Jesus jokes in Jerusalem” (287). Despite this frequent backlash, Mandela’s reputation being unassailable, Wilderson also documents how his own immediate circle of ANC comrades attempted to resist the coming “Hydra” of “English liberalism and African conciliation” (144).

Key to this resistance was the leadership of Chris Hani, a leader in the South African Communist Party and a senior officer in Umkhonto we Sizwe. Tragically, Hani was assassinated a year before the elections, on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1993. Most valuably, Incognegro introduces an American audience to Chris Hani through memories of ANC work, his popularity among the rank and file, and the shock of his sudden loss. In many ways Wilderson’s personal narrative pivots on Hani’s death. Would a revolution be possible without his leadership? It is perhaps impossible to know at what point the ANC’s goal of a people’s revolution was surrendered for a compromised negotiation with the apartheid regime to achieve the goal of democratic elections. Did it happen during the secret negotiations to release Nelson Mandela and his fellow leaders on Robben Island? Did it happen when prominent South African businessmen met with exiled ANC leaders to talk about a negotiated solution? Or did it happen behind closed doors in talks between various political and military leaders of the National Party and the African National Congress after Mandela was released, during the 1990 to 1994 period? Wilderson’s Incognegro points toward this last time period as the most likely answer.

In a meeting with his MK cadres immediately after Hani’s assassination, one comrade suggested a broader conspiracy coming from conservative forces outside South Africa, “Fifty-thousand dollars from the Heritage Foundation. Thirty-thousand dollars from a West German minister of parliament. And someone from the ANC, someone high up enough to sell a vital piece of information—the timetable of Hani’s bodyguards” (381). In this speculation, Incognegro perhaps resembles Zoë Wicomb’s brilliant novel David’s Story [2000] which explores the experience of two MK comrades during the transitional period, David Dirkse, who is confessing the story to an anonymous narrator, and Dulcie, one of his comrades, who is being tortured by unknown assailants throughout the novel. One troubling commonality between Incognegro and David’s Story lies in their description of the active execution of ANC activists during the years of transition. Both David and Dulcie’s names exist on such a hit list, and at the end of the novel David takes his own life by driving his car off a cliff into the sea near Cape Town. Similarly, Wilderson writes that in 1992 comrades close to him were receiving death threats, “Eleven ANC comrades that I am close to get death threats as a matter of course. . . . Ten to twelve people close to them have been murdered execution style. They were educators, intellectuals, labor union organizers, peace commission workers, and university students” (190–191). What is most unsettling about these assassinations (which also struck down Chris Hani) is the chilling possibility that the ANC leadership itself, through their deep compromises with white South Africa, sacrificed their own in order to achieve the transition and come into power.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?c...&aid=18401

South Africa to Kick Homeless Off Streets before World Cup

by Gary Anderson


Quote:Thousands of homeless people are being forced off the streets of South Africa to hide the scale of poverty there from World Cup fans.

More than 800 tramps, beggars and street children have already been removed from Johannesburg and sent to remote settlements hundreds of miles away.

And in Cape Town, where England face Algeria on June 18, up to 300 have been moved to Blikkiesdorp camp where 1,450 families are crammed in a settlement of tin huts designed for just 650 people.

Johannesburg councillor Sipho Masigo was unrepentant. "Homelessness and begging are big problems in the city," he said. "You have to clean your house before you have guests. There is nothing wrong with that.

Dumping large numbers of poor black people in the middle of nowhere? Now who used to do that, I wonder?
Yup, we can't have the uncomfortable fact of the poor and starving blemishing the tens of billions on revenue from countless nations gorging themselves on beer and barbies.
How long, one wonders, before the ANC's Wabenzi start issuing passes to the great unwashed?