50th anniversay of the massacre at Sharpeville
March 21, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the massacre at Sharpeville. Amandla! Awethu!
posted by quodlibet (7 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

It was amazing to me in 1986, when I was in college and deeply involved in the anti-apartheid and divestment movement, that adults who were supposed to be smart and educated and thoughtful, could in any way defend a regime that did this kind of thing. I remember a meeting with the trustees of my school, who seemed to have only the thinnest knowledge of what apartheid actually was, and what it meant, as they defended their refusal to divest with talk of fiduciary responsibility.
posted by rtha at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love you, Rainbow Nation.
posted by New England Cultist at 12:17 PM on March 21, 2010

The Time coverage in 1960 seems at odds with the present day eyewitness accounts.

The Times in the 60s:
Twenty police, nervously eying a growing mob of 20,000 Africans demanding to be arrested, barricaded themselves behind a 4-ft. wire-mesh fence surrounding the police station. The crowd's mood was ugly, and 130 police reinforcements, supported by four Saracen armored cars, were rushed in. Sabre jets and Harvard Trainers zoomed within a hundred feet of the ground, buzzing the crowd in an attempt to scatter it. The Africans responded by hurling stones, which rattled harmlessly off the armored cars and into the police compound, stnk-ing three policemen.

From the Guardian, present time:
Makiti, who at the time was a 17-year-old PAC member, recalled that the demonstrators were in high spirits, holding umbrellas and throwing their hats in the air.

"There was jubilation around, not anything that suggested people were angry or wanting to fight," said the grandfather, who later spent five years imprisoned on Robben Island. "They were waiting for the answer and the answer came with the bullet. I think the police just panicked because of the mob."

Without warning the police opened fire on the crowd. Most of those who died were shot in the back as they fled.

posted by el io at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

BTW, I just noticed: Youtube has removed their 10-minute limit on vids. That last link is apparently the entire 103-min movie!
posted by IAmBroom at 4:25 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

thanks for posting this
posted by jammy at 7:38 PM on March 21, 2010

There's a truly chilling account of the massacre in the South African Mail and Guardian, recounted by the sole reporter who had stumbled onto the scene by accident, Humphrey Tyler.

The accompanying picture and caption gave me gooseflesh when I encountered in the print edition.
posted by tuckshopdilettante at 6:27 AM on March 23, 2010

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