Human Rights Day (Public Holiday)

Remember the past and celebrate the future on Human Rights Day


Human Rights Day (21 March) was officially declared a public holiday in 1994 following the inauguration of former president Nelson Mandela. This national day-off is both a stark reminder of the tragic Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of South Africa’s unique constitution, which gives equal rights to all.

THE SHARPEVILLE MASSACRE

On Monday, 21 March in 1960 police opened fire, without order, on a crowd that had gathered at the Sharpeville station to protest pass laws, stipulations that required Africans to carry books and produce them for law enforcement officials on request; 69 unarmed people were killed and another 180 were injured.  

While little is known about what really sparked this tragic event, Joe Tlholoe, one of the nation's most acclaimed journalists who was a high school pupil at the time, recalled that the Pan Africanist Congress – under the leadership of Robert Sobukwe – appealed to all African men to take a stand against such a humiliating law, leave their pass books (also known as the dompas) at home, go to their nearest police station and demand to be incarcerated for not carrying the demeaning document. The police then, upon seeing the masses of people marching, opened fire on the crowd in a state of fear.

Today, the South African constitution protects individual rights, like the right to move freely without a pass book, with its inclusion of the Bill of Rights (only a supermajority of Parliament can influence any changes to the bill), and citizens are entitled to basic human dignity and more in the country’s current democracy.

THINGS TO DO ON HUMAN RIGHT’S DAY IN CAPE TOWN

To commemorate this historic day and to celebrate how far our nation’s progressed, why not have a look at our overview of things to do for Human Right’s Day in Cape Town.

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2015 PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA
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JANUARY

1 January

New Year's Day

MARCH

21 March

Human Rights Day

APRIL

3 April

Good Friday

5 April

Family Day

27 April

Freedom Day

MAY

1 May

Worker’s Day

JUNE

16 June

Youth Day

AUGUST

9 August

National Women's Day

SEPTEMBER

24 September

Heritage Day

DECEMBER

16 December

Day of Reconciliation

25 December

Christmas Day

26 December

Day of Goodwill

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For more hot and happening things to do, check out the annual events in Cape Town or use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

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Cape Town Events Calendar
October 2014
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Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

Marriage of Figaro 2The Marriage of Figaro Opera at the ...

Watch the magic of Mozart’s compositions come to life in this comic opera ...

Rocking Hollywood 5Barnyard Theatre’s Rocking Hollywood ...

Have a musical trip down memory lane with the brilliant cast of Rocking in ...

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Short & SweetShort and Sweet Season Four

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Host memorable, meaningful functions at this warm CBD bistro

Rocky Horror Picture Show FugardRocky Horror Show at the Fugard Theatre

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Cascades on The Promenade dinnerBistro lunch at Cascades on the ...

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Kids Bday Party at Two Oceans AquariumKids Parties at the Two Oceans Aquarium

Birthdays are better down where it’s wetter, take it from us!

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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The Foreign Exchange Bar Quiz NightTrivia Night at The Foreign Exchange Bar

Test your general knowledge at this Observatory-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

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Free your mind and flex your body at this stylish lifestyle centre’s mahala ...

Horseback safari at AquilaHorseback Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Ditch the regular, old game drive and saddle up for an up-close experience with ...

Boy Girl Hair at Love Cape TownHaircut Special at Boy Girl Hair

Marry a tip-top cut with any of this edgy salon’s other services and save 30%

Richard's Bistro supper and stage Kaapstad“Kaapse Stories” at Richard’s ...

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

Avontuur Wine EstateFood and Wine Pairing at Avontuur Estate

Learn how to please your palate at the Stellenbosch farm that’s home to fine ...

Conquest School of Driving Cape TownConquest’s Driving Lessons

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Eggs Benedict from Latitude 332-for-1 Eggs Benedict Breakfast Special ...

Buy one and get the other free at this Bree Street restaurant every Tuesday

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Hop on board a fun-filled minibus and explore the hidden gems of the Western ...

High tea at the Twelve Apostles HotelHigh Tea by the Sea at The Twelve ...

A must-do with a view in dearest Cape Town

funcar vw beetleFun Car: Cheap Car Hire in Cape Town

Buzz through the Mother City in a budget Beetle, Citi Golf, Jeep Cherokee or ...

Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

Marriage of Figaro 2The Marriage of Figaro Opera at the ...

Watch the magic of Mozart’s compositions come to life in this comic opera ...

Rocking Hollywood 5Barnyard Theatre’s Rocking Hollywood ...

Have a musical trip down memory lane with the brilliant cast of Rocking in ...

Cape Quarter The SquareHappy Hour at the Cape Quarter Square

Weekday evenings are all about half-price cocktails and high spirits at this ...

Fruit Salad WrapWednesday Tortilla Wrap Special at ...

Recharge and refresh with a budget- and belly-friendly brekkie and lunch deal ...

Hout Bay Dental Studio Teeth Whitening EffectsTeeth Whitening Special at Hout Bay ...

Brighten the midweek with a superb Wednesday dental deal

Ways of wellnessWaxing Wednesdays at Ways of Wellness ...

His and her hair removal for less at Cape Town’s first all-natural beauty ...

Rocky Horror Picture Show FugardRocky Horror Show at the Fugard Theatre

The timeless musical returns to Cape Town to give fans another round of racy ...

Year End Party Two Oceans AquariumHost a Year End Function at the Two ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser ...

The Odyssey Live Music NightCrossroad Blues Live Music Night at The ...

Dine and drink while taking in top tunes at this trendy bar every Wednesday

Stardust VespasSix-for-Four Shooter Special at ...

Add some rocket fuel to this eatery’s theatrical dining experience to make ...

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Say goodbye to happy hour and hello to an around-the-clock brewhaha

Dornier Bodega Shellfish PlatterShellfish Special at Dornier Bodega ...

Make Wednesdays truly wonderful with a half-price shellfish deal at this ...

HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating group escape game

Peter's House Restaurant TamboerskloofPasta Special at Peter’s House

Say no to washing up on ‘HUmP Day’ and head to Cape Town’s cutest eatery ...

Dinner at Aubergine RestaurantLunch at Aubergine Restaurant

Daytime fine dining in the heart of Cape Town

Stand Up Paddle Boarding with High Five Cape TownStand Up Paddle Board Group Lesson ...

Learn to SUP for 25 - 50% less thanks to High Five

Ajax cape Town 4Ajax Cape Town vs. Platinum Stars ...

The Mother City’s number-two ranked squad faces off with a lacklustre ...

scooter hire cape bike travelScooter Hire from Cape Bike Travel

Hop on a moped or Vespa, take in the sights and navigate the streets of the ...

Jabula Hair Cape TownJabula Hair Weave & Extension Special

Buy hair extensions a weave or a wig and get your do done for free

Sotano Lamb Burger SpecialDinner Special at Sotano by Caveau

Tuck into two lamb burgers and fries for the price of one every Wednesday

Craft beer from The Taproom Salt RiverAfter-work Drinks at The Taproom

Give your nine-to-five the finger and wind down with a craft beer at this ...

Odriscolls Irish Pub's Burger SpecialO’Driscoll’s 2-for-1 Burger Special

Beef up your Wednesday with double the bun-and-patty action for just R68

Wednesday Dinner Special at Jackal & Hide RestaurantJackal & Hide’s Wednesday Restaurant ...

Get two mains for a mere R140 at Cape Town’s Kloof Street hotspot

Cape Jazz at the Crypt VenueWine Wednesdays at The Crypt Jazz ...

Celebrate ‘hump day’ with sultry tunes and smooth reds and whites

NAC Helicopter Cape Town Tours & FlightsNAC’s Romantic Helicopter Flip

This Cape Town company’s flock of lovebirds offers rides to make hearts soar

Happy Hour at Mojitos2-for-1 Burger Special at Cafe Mojito

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for less than R60 every Wednesday at Long ...

Thomas Mason suit jacket liningsMORE’s Handmade Shirt Special

Get a free customised shirt when purchasing a made-to-measure suit

Galileo Cinema Movies in Cape Town 2014The Return of the Galileo Open Air ...

The saga continues: Cape Town’s summertime staple is back with fresh ...

CosplayT-Fest Gaming and Cosplay Convention

It’s time to get your geek on at the monthly gamer and comic book lovers get ...

Gatsby Sandwich Cape TownThe Gatsby Sandwich

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Maboneng Township Arts Langa TagThe Langa TAG Township Arts Gallery Tour

Take a gander at local creations along this Cape Town township’s first ...

Ladies Night at Gun Fun Cape TownGun Fun Indoor Shooting Range in Cape ...

A fun way to relieve stress and try something new

Kwena Lodge at Gondwana Game ReserveGondwana Private Game Reserve

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