The Eastern Cape is gearing up for the commemoration of this year’s Human Rights Day in King William’s Town where President Jacob Zuma will be joined by thousands of people who will observe the day at Victoria Grounds.
On Monday, workers were busy putting final touches at the venue where scores of people are expected to gather from 9am on Tuesday. King William’s Town is the birth place of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko who died in a prison cell in Pretoria in 1977. This year marks 40 years since his murder at the hands of the police.
Government said this year’s Human Rights Day will used to honour Biko as well as another struggle veteran, Oliver Reginald Tambo, the longest serving President of the governing party, the African National Congress.
The commemorations will this year be held under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Unity in action in advancing Human Rights”, celebrating the contribution of national icon and hero Oliver Reginald Tambo in advancing unity in the struggle for liberation.
President Zuma, along with Biko’s wife, Nontsikilelo, will unveil a memorial at the gravesite in Ginsberg, before the President proceeds to the main Human Rights Day celebration which is at the city centre.
The commemoration of Human Rights Day originates from the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on March 21, 1960 when 69 people were killed by the apartheid police during a peaceful protest march.
Meanwhile, the people of King William’s Town have expressed joy over the decision to hold the event in their town and to celebrate their hero Biko.
“We are very humbled by this decision by the government to remember Steve Biko in this way and to bring the Human Rights Day to our town. It is something that is really appreciated. It also shows that the sacrifices made by people like Biko as well as the Eastern Cape’s contribution to history is appreciated,” said local community leader Michael Makhuphula.
Local businesses are also hoping to gain from the event with hawkers on Monday already seen preparing to move their stands near the venue. – SAnews.gov.za
Related: No Official Massacre Commemorations as Government Outmaneuvers Municipality – Also see video below.
The entire press conference with added Zebra’s because sometimes politicians just go better with Dancing Zebras – #JustAddZebras courtesy of John Oliver