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 CALENDAR OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN SOUTH AFRICA

JANUARY

1 JAN

New Year's Day

MARCH

21 MAR

Human Rights Day

APRIL

3 APR

Good Friday

6 APR

Family Day (Easter Monday)

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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Thu
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Fri
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Sat
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Sun
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Mon
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Cape Town Events Calendar
January 2015
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The Galileo Open Air Theatre Hillcrest QuarryThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at ...

Grab your popcorn and settle down at this unique Durbanville location for the ...

Othello at Maynardville Park Shakespeare in the Park at Maynardville ...

See Shakespeare’s well-known tale of passion, love and jealousy, Othello, ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

Catch this series of Stellenbosch music concerts showcasing some of the finest ...

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

Be entranced by some of classical music’s finest soloists at the Cape Town ...

Samsa-Masjien at the Baxter Theatre Samsa-masjien Play in Cape Town

The thought-provoking piece of local theatre that delves into Kafka’s ...

Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge 80s RewindBarnyard Theatre’s 80s Rewind Party

Take a trip down musical memory lane with this rocking fiesta

ratanga function venue 8Host a Corporate Function at Ratanga ...

Throw a classy soirée or a raucous party at the “Wildest Place in Africa”

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Borage Bistro SaladThe Everyman’s Bistro Lunch at Borage ...

Everyone’s invited for a sublime midday meal at this easy-going CBD eatery

Charcoal Dining RestaurantCharcoal Dining: An Intimate Party and ...

Host memorable, meaningful functions at this warm CBD bistro

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!

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

Boy Girl Hair Salon SignHaircut Special at Boy Girl Hair

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

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

Supper and Stage make for a delectable evening’s entertainment

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

Marcel's Frozen Yogurt Wrapped Bar Turkish Delight8 Unusual Things You Can Do With ...

FroYo your old ideas to the wind and check out our collection of off-centre ...

Chilli Poppers and tapas from Orinoco Bree StreetHalf-price Tapas Tuesdays at Orinoco ...

Tuck into twice the Latin American flavour for once the price at this vibrant ...

Tyrannosaurus Rex at Dinosaur ExhibitionDinosAlive Dinosaur Exhibition & Play ...

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

river club green 2Beer, Balls and Burger Special at The ...

Practise your swing and tuck into a delicious hamburger and lager combo every ...

funcar vw beetleFun Car: Cheap Car Hire in Cape Town

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

KIN Present Store in City Centre CPTShop for ‘That Special Something’ ...

You’ll find cool gifts for guys and gals galore at this reservoir of ...

Auslese Private Events and Function VenueAuslese Function Venue: Just What the ...

The exclusive food and wine pairing space that caters for parties, events and ...

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

A must-do with a view in dearest Cape Town

SYNW The Assembly Night Club in Cape TownSee You Next Wednesday Party at The ...

Hurdle the midweek hump with cheap drinks and good music at this Cape Town ...

Othello at Maynardville Park Shakespeare in the Park at Maynardville ...

See Shakespeare’s well-known tale of passion, love and jealousy, Othello, ...

David Kramer's Orpheus in Africa 1 Orpheus in Africa at the Fugard Theatre

The new proudly South African musical from writer/ director David Kramer

Jou Ma Se Comedy Club JMSCC Pumphouse Cape TownJoin the Jou Ma Se Comedy Club ...

Laugh in the face of the five-day workweek at Cape Town’s only dedicated ...

Oude Libertas Summer Music FestivalOude Libertas Summer Season Festival

Catch this series of Stellenbosch music concerts showcasing some of the finest ...

orchestra1Cape Town International Summer Music ...

Be entranced by some of classical music’s finest soloists at the Cape Town ...

Sotano Lamb Burger SpecialDinner Special at Sotano by Caveau

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

Samsa-Masjien at the Baxter Theatre Samsa-masjien Play in Cape Town

The thought-provoking piece of local theatre that delves into Kafka’s ...

Barnyard Theatre Willowbridge 80s RewindBarnyard Theatre’s 80s Rewind Party

Take a trip down musical memory lane with this rocking fiesta

Seafood platter from Dornier Restaurant in StellenboschShellfish Special at Dornier Bodega ...

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

The Galileo Open Air Theatre KirstenboschThe Galileo Open Air Cinema at ...

Enjoy cult classics and award-winning films beneath the Cape’s starry skies ...

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

Brighten the midweek with a superb Wednesday dental deal

Art of the Brick Lego ManThe Art of the Brick Lego Exhibition in ...

Don’t miss the world-renowned expo at the V&A Waterfront that transforms a ...

Battlefield Live Corporate LogoTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

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

Live Blues and music on Wednesday at the odysseyCrossroad Blues Live Music Night at The ...

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

Cape Quarter The SquareHappy Hour at the Cape Quarter Square

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

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

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

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

Beerhouse beer o clock logoBeer o’ Clock at Beerhouse

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

HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating group escape game

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

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 ...

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

Paragliding Cape TownCape Town Paragliding Special with Para ...

Take to the skies on any Wednesday with this reputable company and receive R100 ...

Burritos from Orinoco Mexican RestaurantQuesadilla & Burrito Wednesday Lunch ...

Enjoy a spicy midday meal at this colourful Latin American cantina for less ...

Tyrannosaurus Rex at Dinosaur ExhibitionDinosAlive Dinosaur Exhibition & Play ...

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

Cobble & Stone Pub at Inn on the SquareTake a Load Off at the Cobble & Stone ...

Fancy a pint or a bite? Stop over at this Greenmarket Square tavern for great ...

Om Revolution garden yogaPrivate Yoga Classes Special from The ...

Save a whopping R300 when you sign up for six personalised yoga sessions aimed ...

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 ...

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

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

Formula 1 Cape Town-7Formula 1 Set to Come to Cape Town in ...

Will we see an F1 Grand Prix tear up the Mother City’s tarmac in the near ...

Trees Restaurant at Townhouse HotelValentine’s Day Dinner at Townhouse ...

Enjoy a romantic date night out at this slick and stylish hotel in the heart of ...

Jou Ma Se Comedy Club JMSCC Pumphouse Cape TownJou Ma Se Comedy Club at the V&A ...

Meet Cape Town’s premier stand-up venue: the only place where they talk ...

Endless Summer Beachhouse47 Awesome To- Dos That Should Be on ...

What better way to make the most of this time of year than by exploring the ...

river club greensThe River Club in Cape Town

The reinvigorated, all-in-one practice playground that wants you to have a ...

Cocktails and sundowners from the piano bar cape townThe Definitive Cape Town Cocktail Menu

Our guide to the must-tries of the Mother City’s mixology scene

Bocca Restaurant InteriorBocca Restaurant in Cape Town

The renowned restaurateur behind Burrata opens a new Neapolitan pizza place on ...

Fresch gnocchi at True Italic Cape TownIt’s Amore at True Italic Authentic ...

This Cape Town osteria’s lovingly introducing locals to genuine Italian ...

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