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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2016 CALENDAR OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA

JANUARY

1 JAN

New Year's Day

MARCH

21 MAR

Human Rights Day

25 MAR

Good Friday

27 MAR

Family Day (Easter Sunday)

APRIL

27 APR

Freedom Day

MAY

1 MAY

Worker’s Day

JUNE

16 JUN

Youth Day

AUGUST

9 AUG

National Women's Day

SEPTEMBER

24 SEP

Heritage Day

DECEMBER

16 DEC

Day of Reconciliation

25 DEC

Christmas Day

26 DEC

Day of Goodwill

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Plan your year with our nifty overview of public holidays in South Africa. Alternatively, have a squiz at our guide to annual March events to find out about more hot happenings taking place during the month.

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Cape Town Events Calendar
December 2016
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Proe Paarl Wine FestivalProe Paarl Wine Festival

Come get a taste of the Cape Winelands at this annual wine tasting extravaganza!

Gardens Shopping Centre Festive Chic Gifting FairFestive Chic Gifting Fair at the ...

Find the perfect gifts before the Christmas rush at this festive market

I Love Big Bay Spring MarketI Love Big Bay Market

Put a spring in your step at this fabulous evening market

Cape Town International Dance Festival 2016International Dance Festival in Cape ...

See some premier dance talent from around the globe with this inaugural ...

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Col'Cacchio invites you all to come and try their custom designed pizza's and ...

Gambero Rosso Top Italian Wines Road ShowGambero Rosso Top Italian Wines Road ...

One hundred complimentary invites for CapeTownMagazine.com readers

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Make Thursdays memorable with deep house and drinks at Cape Town’s favourite ...

Michael Academy Golf Day in Cape TownMichael Academy Golf Day

Enjoy a spot of golf and help a deserving charity in the process

table tennis tournament 20162016 World Junior Table Tennis ...

Witness the table version of Wimbledon at GrandWest!

Voice of the Cape Festival 3The Voice of the Cape Summer Festival

Have a fun weekend with the Voice of the Cape

Alistair Izobel Kaapse Jol 3Alistair Izobell’s Kaapse Jol

Sing and dance your way into the new year at this lively performance

The Beach Bar Party in Plettenberg BayThe Beach Bar Party in Plettenberg Bay

This seaside beach resort transforms into a party-goers paradise

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Explore society’s concealed one percent

Noddy Charity Christmas PartyNoddy Charity Christmas Party

Spend an entertaining evening with the kids and raise some money for charity too

Watermelon Gang - 1Anton Crone Exhibition in Woodstock

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The Father at The Fugard TheatreThe Father at The Fugard Theatre

Catch an emotionally poignant play with a powerhouse cast

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Grab the kids and jump back to the Jurassic period at this awesome interactive ...

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

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De Grendel Wine Farm WineWine Tasting at De Grendel in ...

Enjoy a serene sampling experience in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs

Avontuur Wine and Macaron PairingSpecialist Tastings at Avontuur Wine ...

Spice up your winery experience with one of these delectable monthly pairings

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab some snacks and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

The Galileo Open Air Theatre V&A WaterfrontThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A ...

Get your weekly dose of classics, dramas, action movies and more at these ...

WSDC Shark Jumping 4White Shark Diving Company’s Shark ...

Witness a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle – a great white shark breach – with ...

Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2015 4Ram Slam T20 Challenge Cricket Fixtures ...

The nation-wide T20 tournament pits the best teams against each other

HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating live group escape game in Cape Town

Clybourne Park at The Fugard TheatreUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

Quad Biking back safari Aquila Game ParkQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Get up close and personal with South Africa’s animal kingdom on an ...

AWOL-City-cycle-tour-6.jpgCape Town City Cycle Tour with AWOL ...

Discover the rich history of Cape Town’s CBD in an active, engaging way with ...

Table Mountain sunsetTable Mountain Sunset Special

Get up close and personal with Table Mountain this summer…

Tidy and Co 15 Christmas Present Ideas15 Christmas Present Ideas for 15 ...

A pick of 15 fabulous gifts for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and girly ...

juli jana art 3Stratagems Exhibition by juli Jana

Take part in a visual experience at this vibrant display of abstract art

Manga Logo2-for-1 Stir-fry Special at Manga ...

Buy one portion of noodles and get another free at this seaside spot on ...

Cherry Picking at KlondykeCherry Picking Season in Ceres

Skip through the orchards with your loved ones and fill your baskets with ...

Hout Bay Dental Studio 2016 3Professional Teeth Cleaning Special at ...

Spruce up your pearly whites with this 20% discount for CapeTownMagazine.com ...

Vista Parties Ocean Adventurer 3Vista Parties Ocean Adventurer Birthday ...

Celebrate your child’s special day out to sea with this Atlantic Seaboard ...

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sushi every Thursday

Excentric InteriorShellac Manicure-centric and ...

Spoil yourself with one of these signature nail treatments and receive a 50% ...

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Bath Brush and Doggy Daycare ...

This Mother City pet-sitting paradise brings you the alternative to leaving ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

This family-friendly off-road adventure will see you (and the whole clan) ...

Groote Post Country MarketGroote Post Country Market

A darling market with plenty of heart and country fare suitable for the whole ...

Wine and cheese platter from Peter FalkeSundowners at Peter Falke Wine Farm in ...

Toast dusk with fine wine, gorgeous cheese platters and tasty salads

Proe Paarl Wine FestivalProe Paarl Wine Festival

Come get a taste of the Cape Winelands at this annual wine tasting extravaganza!

Gardens Shopping Centre Festive Chic Gifting FairFestive Chic Gifting Fair at the ...

Find the perfect gifts before the Christmas rush at this festive market

I Love Big Bay Spring MarketI Love Big Bay Market

Put a spring in your step at this fabulous evening market

Cape Town International Dance Festival 2016International Dance Festival in Cape ...

See some premier dance talent from around the globe with this inaugural ...

Find your spot#FindYourSpot with Place in the Sun ...

Col'Cacchio invites you all to come and try their custom designed pizza's and ...

Gambero Rosso Top Italian Wines Road ShowGambero Rosso Top Italian Wines Road ...

One hundred complimentary invites for CapeTownMagazine.com readers

Orphanage-cocktail-emporium-winesCocktails and Dancing at Orphanage ...

Make Thursdays memorable with deep house and drinks at Cape Town’s favourite ...

Michael Academy Golf Day in Cape TownMichael Academy Golf Day

Enjoy a spot of golf and help a deserving charity in the process

table tennis tournament 20162016 World Junior Table Tennis ...

Witness the table version of Wimbledon at GrandWest!

Voice of the Cape Festival 3The Voice of the Cape Summer Festival

Have a fun weekend with the Voice of the Cape

Alistair Izobel Kaapse Jol 3Alistair Izobell’s Kaapse Jol

Sing and dance your way into the new year at this lively performance

The Beach Bar Party in Plettenberg BayThe Beach Bar Party in Plettenberg Bay

This seaside beach resort transforms into a party-goers paradise

Inequality - 41%: Privilege in a Time of Global ...

Explore society’s concealed one percent

Noddy Charity Christmas PartyNoddy Charity Christmas Party

Spend an entertaining evening with the kids and raise some money for charity too

Watermelon Gang - 1Anton Crone Exhibition in Woodstock

Challenge your misconceptions and explore one of Cape Town’s most culturally ...

The Father at The Fugard TheatreThe Father at The Fugard Theatre

Catch an emotionally poignant play with a powerhouse cast

DinosAlive at CapeGate Shopping CentreDinosAlive Dinosaur Exhibition and Play ...

Grab the kids and jump back to the Jurassic period at this awesome interactive ...

District Six Kanala Musical in Cape Town District Six - Kanala Musical

David Kramer brings another lekker local production to the Mother City

De Grendel Wine Farm WineWine Tasting at De Grendel in ...

Enjoy a serene sampling experience in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs

Avontuur Wine and Macaron PairingSpecialist Tastings at Avontuur Wine ...

Spice up your winery experience with one of these delectable monthly pairings

Galileo Open Air Cinema Cape TownThe Galileo Open Air Cinema in the Cape ...

Grab some snacks and get ready to watch your favourite films beneath the stars ...

The Galileo Open Air Theatre V&A WaterfrontThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at the V&A ...

Get your weekly dose of classics, dramas, action movies and more at these ...

WSDC Shark Jumping 4White Shark Diving Company’s Shark ...

Witness a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle – a great white shark breach – with ...

Ram Slam T20 Challenge 2015 4Ram Slam T20 Challenge Cricket Fixtures ...

The nation-wide T20 tournament pits the best teams against each other

HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating live group escape game in Cape Town

Clybourne Park at The Fugard TheatreUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

Quad Biking back safari Aquila Game ParkQuad Bike Safari at Aquila Game Reserve

Get up close and personal with South Africa’s animal kingdom on an ...

AWOL-City-cycle-tour-6.jpgCape Town City Cycle Tour with AWOL ...

Discover the rich history of Cape Town’s CBD in an active, engaging way with ...

Table Mountain sunsetTable Mountain Sunset Special

Get up close and personal with Table Mountain this summer…

Tidy and Co 15 Christmas Present Ideas15 Christmas Present Ideas for 15 ...

A pick of 15 fabulous gifts for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts and girly ...

juli jana art 3Stratagems Exhibition by juli Jana

Take part in a visual experience at this vibrant display of abstract art

Manga Logo2-for-1 Stir-fry Special at Manga ...

Buy one portion of noodles and get another free at this seaside spot on ...

Cherry Picking at KlondykeCherry Picking Season in Ceres

Skip through the orchards with your loved ones and fill your baskets with ...

Hout Bay Dental Studio 2016 3Professional Teeth Cleaning Special at ...

Spruce up your pearly whites with this 20% discount for CapeTownMagazine.com ...

Vista Parties Ocean Adventurer 3Vista Parties Ocean Adventurer Birthday ...

Celebrate your child’s special day out to sea with this Atlantic Seaboard ...

Pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & SpaHalf-price Sushi Special at African ...

Get 50% off this Century City restaurant’s sushi every Thursday

Excentric InteriorShellac Manicure-centric and ...

Spoil yourself with one of these signature nail treatments and receive a 50% ...

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Bath Brush and Doggy Daycare ...

This Mother City pet-sitting paradise brings you the alternative to leaving ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

Scootours FamilyJunior Passengers Ride FREE Every ...

This family-friendly off-road adventure will see you (and the whole clan) ...

Groote Post Country MarketGroote Post Country Market

A darling market with plenty of heart and country fare suitable for the whole ...

Wine and cheese platter from Peter FalkeSundowners at Peter Falke Wine Farm in ...

Toast dusk with fine wine, gorgeous cheese platters and tasty salads

Bakwena Day SpaBakwena Day Spa in Cape Town

The ultimate relaxation hotspot comes to the Mother City

Nieuwjaarsduik HoutbayWelcome The Sunny Summer Season

Time to soak up some sun and get your tan on.

act against abuseActivists Create Awareness for 16 Days ...

Cape Town activists beat drums in a symbolic demonstration against gender-based ...

World Aids DaySA Launches HIV Vaccine Trial

Historical Vaccine Trial Underway In South Africa.

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Ignite your creativity at this chilled out culture hub bringing a nuance in ...

Rush X FIT 2RUSH X FIT Trampoline Fitness Training

Jump, leap and fly your body into better shape at this fun and exhilarating ...

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