South African President Jacob Zuma will on Tuesday lead his nation in commemorating this year’s
Human Rights Day in the Eastern Cape Province’s King William’s Town to observe the occasion at the city’s Victoria Grounds on Tuesday, Zuma’s office has said.King William’s Town is the birth place of the late Black Consciousness Movement activist Steve Biko who was brutally tortured and killed by the apartheid regime’s police in 1977 in Pretoria at the height of the struggle against white minority rule.
Zuma, along with Biko’s wife, Nontsikilelo, will unveil a memorial at Biko’s gravesite in Ginsberg before the president proceeds to the main Human Rights Day celebrations which is at the city centre, the Presidency said.
The commemoration of Human Rights Day originates from the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on 21 March 1960 when 69 people were killed by the apartheid police during a peaceful protest against the carrying of internal passports known as “passbooks” which controlled movements of all black citizens in the country.
Any black citizen found without a passbook was arrested and charged in a court of law for committing a crime during the white minority rule of apartheid.
The Presidency said this year’s Human Rights Day will be used to honour Biko as well as another struggle veteran, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who was the longest serving president of the governing African National Congress party.
Tambo was ANC president from 1967 to 1991. He died in April 1993, a year before South Africa’s independence.