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
July 2016
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HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating group escape game

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

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

Tech Talk CPT Neuroscientific MarketingModern Alchemists: Sound and ...

This recurring science and technology-focused event spins onto the social ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

21 July Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition 3The Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition ...

Artists from across the globe use their craft to pay tribute to this novelist ...

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R120 per kilogram on Wednesdays

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsThe Goatshed Restaurant’s Themed Food ...

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Excentric interior 5Hair and Nail Special at Excentric Hair ...

First-time clients save R100 on beauty services at this sleek Sea Point ...

Cape Town Funny Festival LogoJive Cape Town Funny Festival at the ...

The comedy festival that has Capetonians keeled over, for four weeks, returns

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Paragliding Cape TownCape Town Paragliding Special with Para ...

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

blokes-and-brew.jpgWednesday Haircut Special at Blokes ...

Pair a bespoke haircut with a cold beer every Wednesday for just R190 at Blokes ...

Sotano Lamb Burger SpecialDinner Special at Sotano in Cape Town

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

Comedy Club Afrikaans FeesAfrikaans Festival at the Cape Town ...

Some of the country’s top comedians dish out Afrikaans-only humour this July!

Palette & Vine Art WorkshopsPalette and Vine Art & Wine Event

Find out if wine really does improve creativity at these arty paint-it-yourself ...

Sewing Through Sisterhood - Suzani ExhibitionSewing Paradise: A Sisterhood Through ...

Glimpse paradise through these special styles of textiles

aFREAKa Clothing Adult Pikachu OnesieaFREAKa Clothing Adult Onesies

Unleash your inner freak in one of these playful and trendy locally designed ...

DARG Mandela DayMandela Month at DARG

Lend a paw this Mandela Day and show a furry friend some love

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Doggy Daycare Obedience Classes

Teach an old dog new tricks (or vice-versa) at this Woodstock-based pet haven

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

Mavericks s&m PartyA Winter Special Night Out at Mavericks ...

Ward off the winter chills with some super sexy dancing thrills with this R100 ...

cape town comedy club logoMid-Week Madness at Cape Town Comedy ...

Grab your early bird tickets and save every Wednesday and Thursday

Benguela The Taster Swirl, Sniff and Slurp at Somerset ...

Treat your palate to a journey through the winelands at this world class wine ...

Folk Coffee Anthropology Rivertones 3Tunes and Tapas at Folk Coffee ...

Enjoy delicious fare coupled with sweet sounds every Wednesday at this trendy ...

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2016 Spur Winter Trail Series®

Run wild and free this winter with this top-notch trail series

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

broads logo 1Wednesday Haircut, Blow Dry and ...

Step out in salon style: get a cut, treatment and Brigitte Bardot worthy blow ...

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady at Artscape

With a little bit of luck you’ll dance all night after seeing this loverly ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

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

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for R69 every Wednesday at Long Street’s ...

RicksHappy Hour Special at Rick’s Café ...

Sip discounted cocktails, tequila and more at the cosy bar off Kloof Street

marianne wine estate 62 –for- 1 Wine Experiences at ...

From a wine and biltong pairing to a vino blending experience, there something ...

ByeCycle Electric Bicycle Luxury Tours Cape TownSunday Morning Electric Bike Tour ...

Enjoy a leisurely weekend breakfast ride around Cape Town for less thanks to ...

Hazendal 7All-day Breakfast at Hazendal Wine ...

Tuck into scrumptious brekkie foods any time of the day at this farm’s ...

La Mer Restaurant at Radisson Blue La Vendome in Sea PointLadies’ Night at Cpoint. Bar & Lounge ...

Dames get a complimentary signature cocktail upon arrival at this chic Atlantic ...

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 ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 3FREE Haircut and Blow-Dry Special at ...

Book a full head of highlights for any Wednesday at this stylish spa and get a ...

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

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

HintHunt Escape Game Logo 2Corporate Team Building with HintHunt

Get the staff bonding with this exhilarating group escape game

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

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

Tech Talk CPT Neuroscientific MarketingModern Alchemists: Sound and ...

This recurring science and technology-focused event spins onto the social ...

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

21 July Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition 3The Quiet Violence of Dreams Exhibition ...

Artists from across the globe use their craft to pay tribute to this novelist ...

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R120 per kilogram on Wednesdays

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsThe Goatshed Restaurant’s Themed Food ...

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Excentric interior 5Hair and Nail Special at Excentric Hair ...

First-time clients save R100 on beauty services at this sleek Sea Point ...

Cape Town Funny Festival LogoJive Cape Town Funny Festival at the ...

The comedy festival that has Capetonians keeled over, for four weeks, returns

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Paragliding Cape TownCape Town Paragliding Special with Para ...

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

blokes-and-brew.jpgWednesday Haircut Special at Blokes ...

Pair a bespoke haircut with a cold beer every Wednesday for just R190 at Blokes ...

Sotano Lamb Burger SpecialDinner Special at Sotano in Cape Town

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

Comedy Club Afrikaans FeesAfrikaans Festival at the Cape Town ...

Some of the country’s top comedians dish out Afrikaans-only humour this July!

Palette & Vine Art WorkshopsPalette and Vine Art & Wine Event

Find out if wine really does improve creativity at these arty paint-it-yourself ...

Sewing Through Sisterhood - Suzani ExhibitionSewing Paradise: A Sisterhood Through ...

Glimpse paradise through these special styles of textiles

aFREAKa Clothing Adult Pikachu OnesieaFREAKa Clothing Adult Onesies

Unleash your inner freak in one of these playful and trendy locally designed ...

DARG Mandela DayMandela Month at DARG

Lend a paw this Mandela Day and show a furry friend some love

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Doggy Daycare Obedience Classes

Teach an old dog new tricks (or vice-versa) at this Woodstock-based pet haven

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

Mavericks s&m PartyA Winter Special Night Out at Mavericks ...

Ward off the winter chills with some super sexy dancing thrills with this R100 ...

cape town comedy club logoMid-Week Madness at Cape Town Comedy ...

Grab your early bird tickets and save every Wednesday and Thursday

Benguela The Taster Swirl, Sniff and Slurp at Somerset ...

Treat your palate to a journey through the winelands at this world class wine ...

Folk Coffee Anthropology Rivertones 3Tunes and Tapas at Folk Coffee ...

Enjoy delicious fare coupled with sweet sounds every Wednesday at this trendy ...

Spur Winter Trail Run SeriesThe 2016 Spur Winter Trail Series®

Run wild and free this winter with this top-notch trail series

Snow World 5Snow World Snow Park at GrandWest

It’s finally going to snow in Cape Town!

Optical Diversion ExhibitionOptical Diversion Exhibition at ...

Venture into a world of abstraction with this eye-catching show

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

broads logo 1Wednesday Haircut, Blow Dry and ...

Step out in salon style: get a cut, treatment and Brigitte Bardot worthy blow ...

My Fair LadyMy Fair Lady at Artscape

With a little bit of luck you’ll dance all night after seeing this loverly ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

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

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

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for R69 every Wednesday at Long Street’s ...

RicksHappy Hour Special at Rick’s Café ...

Sip discounted cocktails, tequila and more at the cosy bar off Kloof Street

marianne wine estate 62 –for- 1 Wine Experiences at ...

From a wine and biltong pairing to a vino blending experience, there something ...

ByeCycle Electric Bicycle Luxury Tours Cape TownSunday Morning Electric Bike Tour ...

Enjoy a leisurely weekend breakfast ride around Cape Town for less thanks to ...

Hazendal 7All-day Breakfast at Hazendal Wine ...

Tuck into scrumptious brekkie foods any time of the day at this farm’s ...

La Mer Restaurant at Radisson Blue La Vendome in Sea PointLadies’ Night at Cpoint. Bar & Lounge ...

Dames get a complimentary signature cocktail upon arrival at this chic Atlantic ...

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 ...

Swordfern Hair and Beauty Salon 3FREE Haircut and Blow-Dry Special at ...

Book a full head of highlights for any Wednesday at this stylish spa and get a ...

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

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

Cape Flats Film FestivalCape Flats Film Festival

Changing the negative perception of the Cape Flats is the focus of this ...

carishma-basday-310 Questions For: Carishma Basday

Carishma Basday is a trailblazing South African sensation with a captivating ...

The Cape Town Magic ClubMonday Night Magic at the Cape Town ...

Fans of mind-bending trickery, saucy sorcery and sleight of hand will be blown ...

5-7 Aug Normal Is Over 5Normal Is Over Film Screening at the ...

Educate yourself on the state of planet Earth at this documentary screening

31 July We House Sundays 3We House Sundays

Bring the weekend to a close at this laid-back Sunday party

Kalk Bay Editorial 14Spend a Day in: Kalk Bay

Discover one of Cape Town’s treasure troves

Cape-Town-All-Stars-Soccer-Club-Cape-Town.jpgCape Town All Stars F.C

The guys in green won promotion to the NFD in 2014 and continue to kick it out ...

Cape-Town-City-FC-Soccer-Club-Cape-Town.jpgCape Town City F.C

Exciting rebirth of the 60s and 70s city soccer team

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