Sharpeville

What transpired in Sharpeville?
On March 21, 1960, police officers in a South African black township opened fire on a group of people peacefully protesting oppressive pass laws, killing 69 people. Every March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination commemorates the anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre.

During apartheid, what happened in Sharpeville?
Sharpeville massacre, (March 21, 1960), incident in the Black township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging, South Africa, in which police opened fire on a crowd of Black people, killing or injuring approximately 250 people. The incident’s coverage helped to focus international attention on South Africa’s apartheid policy.

What is the meaning of the name Sharpeville?
Sharpeville is the oldest of the Vaal Triangle’s six townships. It was named after John Lillie Sharpe, the secretary of Stewarts & Lloyds who came to South Africa from Glasgow, Scotland. Sharpe was first elected to the Vereeniging Town Council in 1932 and served as mayor from 1934 to 1937.

What significance did the Sharpeville massacre have?
The Sharpeville massacre contributed to the PAC and ANC being declared illegal organizations. The massacre was one of the catalysts for these organizations to shift from passive to armed resistance.

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