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Sharpeville (South Africa)
Coordinates 26 ° 40 ′  S , 27 ° 52 ′  E Coordinates: 26 ° 40 ′  S , 27 ° 52 ′  E
Basic data
Country South Africa


District Sedibeng
local community Emfuleni
Residents 37,599 (2011)
Website (English)
Special features:
townshipTemplate: Infobox location / maintenance / comment

Sharpeville is a township in the local community of Emfuleni in Gauteng Province in South Africa , about 50 kilometers south of Johannesburg . In 2011 it had 37,599 inhabitants. This place of residence for blacks was founded by the apartheid government of South Africa. It is located between the two industrial towns of Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging and was named after John Sharpe, a former mayor of Vereeniging. The township became known internationally through the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 and the trial of the Six of Sharpeville in 1985.


The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), an organization of South African blacks that emerged from the African National Congress (ANC), called for non-violent protest against the discriminatory passport laws of the apartheid system in 1960 .

It should civil disobedience in the style of Mahatma Gandhi practiced and without Reference Book ( " Pass demonstrated" a work and residence proof as a control instrument). On March 21, 1960, between 5,000 and 7,000 black people in Sharpeville went to a police station without a reference book to be arrested by the authorities. The demonstration ended in the "Sharpeville Massacre", in which the police shot 69 black people, mostly from behind, and injured another 180. According to the police, the trigger was said to have been the throwing of stones at police cars, but numerous photos of the peaceful demonstration could not prove this.

As a result of this clash between police and demonstrators, the African National Congress (ANC) and the PAC were banned in 1960. The massacre led to nationwide strikes, civil unrest and massive international protests. When there was a threat of exclusion from the Commonwealth of Nations , South Africa unilaterally declared its exit and, as a further step after a referendum , proclaimed the Republic of South Africa ("Republic of South Africa").

March 21, 1966 was declared International Day Against Racism by the United Nations . Since 1979 the International Weeks Against Racism have been held annually at this time . Since 1995 March 21st has been the national day of remembrance in South Africa as " Human Rights Day " .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 2011 census , accessed October 4, 2013
  2. Alistair Boddy-Evans: The 21 March 1960 Sharpeville Massacre . on (English)