Opinion piece: Rethinking and reflecting on Human Rights Day

Story: Samkelo Fetile | Photo: Supplied

Opinion piece by Samkelo Fetile, Office of the Municipal Manager, Walter Sisulu Local Municipality. 


Human Rights Day, observed on 21 March in South Africa, serves as a powerful reminder of the country's troubled past and its ongoing journey towards fairness and equality. This day originated from the tragic events of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 and prompts us to solemnly reflect on the sacrifices made during the struggle against apartheid.

In my opinion. Looking back, it's clear that the fight for human rights wasn't a one-time event but a continuous battle against widespread oppression. The stories of those affected by apartheid reveal the deep injustices suffered by many South Africans. Discriminatory laws tore families apart, and economic gaps still persist today, serving as painful reminders of apartheid's lasting impact.

Despite this dark history, there are signs of hope. South Africa's Constitution embodies the nation's commitment to human rights and equality. It champions principles like dignity, freedom, and fairness, guiding us towards a more inclusive society.

Recognizing unfinished work in promoting Human Rights

As we honour Human Rights Day, we must recognize the progress made in safeguarding and promoting human rights. But we must also acknowledge the work that remains unfinished. Injustice persists, especially in terms of economic empowerment and social justice.

Human Rights Day urges us to take action—to recommit ourselves to upholding human rights principles and to stand in solidarity with those facing discrimination. It's a collective responsibility to strive for justice and equality.

Human Rights Day isn't just about remembering the past; it's about shaping the future. Let's renew our dedication to creating a society where everyone is treated with dignity and fairness, regardless of their background. Together, let's work towards a future where justice, freedom, and equality are not just aspirations but everyday realities for all.