Sharp-nosed at Sharpeville

Nasson, Bill (2012-02)

The original publication is available at http://www.sajs.co.za/

Article

Vereeniging, a drab and sooty industrial spot south of Johannesburg, was the spot where the British and the Boers signed the peace treaty of May 1902 which ended the South African War and paved the way to the first New South Africa. It was also there that, 94 years later, Nelson Mandela signed the final draft of his country’s new post-apartheid constitution into law, sealing the arrival of the second New South Africa. Symbolically, it was a telling choice of place, and in more ways than one. Because that adoption ritual took place in Vereeniging’s African township of Sharpeville, the location where in March 1960 South African police opened fire with live ammunition on Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)-led African demonstrators who had assembled to protest against the detested pass laws of the apartheid regime.

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