Human rights month celebrations 2017

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09 Mar 2017

The Department of Arts and Culture, in partnership with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, will host 2017 Human Rights Day Celebrations on the 21st of March 2017 at Victoria Grounds in King Williams Town, Eastern Cape.

This year’s Human Rights Month will be celebrated under the theme, “The Year of OR Tambo: Unity in action in advancing Human Rights”. The year 2017 marks the centenary celebrations of Oliver Reginald Tambo in South Africa, an anti- apartheid activist and an internationally renowned liberation struggle icon. The OR Tambo Centenary is important as a fitting tribute to mark his selfless and fervent effort towards bloodless transition and an advocate for human rights.

The liberation narrative in South African history will not be complete without also mentioning the 40th Anniversary of Steven Bantu Biko, the leader and founder of the Black Conscious Movement  who contributed immensely in the fight for human rights for all and whose human rights where grossly violated until his death in police detention in 1977.

The democratic government declared 21 March as Human Rights Day to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for liberation and to celebrate the achievement of democracy in South Africa. 

The basis of Human Rights Day is attributed to the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on 21 March 1960 where the apartheid police shot and killed 69 unarmed people in a peaceful protest march.  On the 25th anniversary of this day in 1985 more people were shot and killed by police in Langa Township, Uitenhage and other parts of the country. 

During this month, the Department of Arts and Culture will host a series of Human Rights Dialogues within the context of human rights, to remind all South African to celebrate  20 years of our progressive Constitution. Furthermore to sensitise the society about human rights day as part of a historical occurrence which was attained through selfless fight from many of our liberation struggle stalwarts including OR Tambo and Steve Biko.

Human Rights Dialogue  will take place as follows:

10 March 2017: 10h00 - Human Rights Social Cohesion Colloquium on the Role of OR Tambo in the fight for Human Rights for All at Vaal University of Technology, Gauteng, Panelists: Ms Sophie De Bruyn, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, Prof Siphamandla Zondi, Prof Mongane Serote

17 March 2017: 10h00 - Human Rights Social Cohesion Colloquium on the Role of OR Tambo in the fight for Human Rights for All at Hambanathi/ UThongathi, eThekwini Municipality, Panelist: Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Mr Vusumuzi Zondi/ Mr Bhekokuhle Ndlovana

20 March 2017: 18h00 - Human Rights Social Cohesion Colloquium on the Role of OR Tambo and Steve Biko in the fight for Human Rights for All at Steve Biko Centre, King Williams Town, Panelists: Dr Frene Ginwala, Prof Somadoda Fikeni, Prof Vuyisa Mazwi-Tanga

Media enquiries:  Ms Teresa Magidela,, 012 441 3626 / 060 601 7724

For more information, please contact Ms Zimasa Velaphi: 072 172 8925