Sharpeville Township holds many sad memories and is Home to the Memorial at the 'Human Rights Precinct'. Sharpeville is situated +/-14 km from Vereeniging.
In 1960 during Apartheid a large unarmed group headed to the Police Station with the intent of protesting against having to carry around pass books. The police did not know what to do with this crowd and out of fear and irrational behavior, opened fire on the citizens, injuring 180 and killing 69 of them.
This absurd act was known as the Sharpeville Massacre, many protests were initiated around the Country and this caused International fury and disgust. Sharpeville Day is on the same day as Human Rights Day in South Africa and was proclaimed as International Day, for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by the United Nations. The Memorial displays remembrance of those who died and those who suffered through this catastrophe.
An Area where Blacks and Indians could Live was proclaimed by the Town council, in 1914, 'Top Location' was born. That was an Area to the North of the Town. Before that Blacks used to live informally around the Town. Due to influx of people because of the work opportunities created by the growing industry, Top Location, very quickly became overcrowded. It was for this reason that the town council of Vereeniging decided to establish a new Area for Black Settlement. This was going to be Sharpeville, but initially called; Sharpe Native Township. It has been named after John Lillie Sharpe, he was the mayor of Vereeniging from 1935 until his death in 1937. He was known to be well disposed towards the natives and did much for their welfare. The Sharpe Native Township was established in 1935. Houses were Built by the Town council for rent, ownership under the system at the time was not allowed. And only residents of Top Location could apply for houses, the aim was to empty Top Location with the view of its eventual closure. This, of course, was not a very successful strategy because of the continuous influx of new people to the Area. Top Location despite all these efforts stayed 'full'. The first houses built were referred to as 'elephant houses', probably due to their colouring, (built with cement bricks and Grey tin roofs).
The Sharpeville Memorial and the Sharpeville Monument. There are actually two of them, there is what I consider the major one at the scene of the shooting and another one at the Cemetery.
Opposite the former Police Station is the Monument to commemorate the event. It was inaugurated on the 21-March-2002. It is very symbolic, blocks of stones representing each fatality spread over the complex, a fountain with thin jets of water representing bleeding wounds and a channel carrying the water through the centre representing blood flowing in the Street. Next to the Memorial is the Gallery, it contains a series of pictures and posters related to the incident. The Sharpeville cemetery, the one that was in use during 1960's. A newer one is on the West side, between Sharpeville and Vanderbijlpark. Here, at the old one, the victims of the event were buried in a long row of graves. At the East end of the row is a small Memorial in the colours of the PAC. In this graveyard is also the other big Memorial. It is fairly new, inaugurated in 2011. There is some symbolism in this, the centre piece is a square of wooden poles of differing length. There is a second Memorial, but unfortunately the place is already showing, signs of neglect.
-26° 41' 7.7639", 27° 52' 5.6033"
<p>https://www.sa-venues.com/things-to-do/gauteng/sharpeville-township-and-memorial/https://ruralexploration.co.za/Sharpeville.html/Standard Encyclopedia of Southern Africa, Nasou Limited, 1974/Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook 1960/JW van der Westhuizen, 'Sharpeville, Evaton,and Sebokeng: a short history', Gauteng Provincial Administration Museum Services, July 1997/Ramon Lewis Leigh, 'Vereeniging', Courier-Gazette Publishers, 1968<p>