The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Youth Leadership Programme will on April 18 visit the Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct to engage with South Africa’s rich, but often emotive, history.
In the year of the 55th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre and days before the celebration of Freedom Day, more than 50 young people will get the opportunity to learn more about an event that changed the course of South Africa’s liberation history.
The programme for the day will include a memorial visit to the Phelindaba Cemetery, where the graves of the 69 people who killed in the 1960 massacre, are located. The youth will thereafter take a guided tour of the Sharpeville Exhibition Centre and Museum.
Young people will also engage in a discussion on leadership with the Executive Mayor of Sedibeng, Councillor Mahole Simon Mofokeng, followed by a question and answer session with Municipal Manager of the Sedibeng District Municipality, Yunus Chamda.
Scenes after the Sharpeville shooting. Sources: able.wiki.up.ac.za and myfundi.co.za
“The purpose of our Sharpeville visit is to maintain a sense of awareness in our history and be able to reference it directly from the survivors of the Sharpeville Massacre after 21 years of freedom and democracy,” said Busisiwe Nkosi, Youth Coordinator at the Foundation. “Based on all that it happening in South Africa today, including ongoing discussion and debate around issues of race, we think it is imperative for young people to engage in history in a positive manner.”
Nkosi added that they look forward to the contribution from the Mofokeng and Chamda, who have developed a “simplified explanation of what it takes to become a mayor or municipal manager, the day-to-day challenges of these roles and the type of leadership attributes it takes to assume this government office”.
Survivors of the March 21, 1960 protest, who still reside in the township, will share their recollections of the event with the youth group.
“Having worked with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation before, we have found that the young people are eager to learn about events that shaped our history. The survivors of the Sharpeville Massacre use dialogue and storytelling as an instrument of healing. While some of their stories are heart-wrenching and painful, they have become comfortable in knowing that this historic account is told in a manner that is factual – by them,” said Sipho Khumalo, Heritage Manager at the Sedibeng District Municipality.
The youth are part of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s 2015 leadership programme. Participants come from different parts of Gauteng and are between the ages of 15 – 25 years. The programme on Saturday is expected to inspire and educate the group in the areas of history and the role of leadership and mobilisation towards a common cause.