The EFF marks the 56th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre where 69 black people were brutally murdered by the apartheid regime. We also pay homage to the people of Langa and Soweto who also joined the march on this day against pass laws. In addition, the EFF commemorates the 31st Anniversary of Langa Uitenhage massacre in which more than 20 people were killed. The people of Sharpeville were protesting against Pass Laws which were a set of restrictions that limited black people’s freedom of movement and rendered them migrant, cheap and easily disposable labourers in their own county. Pass Laws managed the daily segregation of black people by ensuring that they remain in the small Bantustans and townships and only come to white areas to sell their labour at a cheap rate.

The EFF believes that Pass Laws, which the people of Sharpeville were fighting against, signified the broader criminalisation of black bodies and people in terms of how they occupy spaces. Black people were reduced to bodies that sell cheap labour and which must be disposed of when not needed. They were subjected to police arrest, harassment and murder if they were to be found not currying dompasses.

The legacy of this system lives on in our country, signified by the continued reality that a significant majority of black people remain cheap and easily disposable labourers. The pass laws also represented the systematic land dispossession of black people as was legislated in the Land Act and the Group Areas Act all of which ensured black people live in spaceless, under serviced and over populated areas.

The history of slavery, colonialism and apartheid make it impossible to re-humanise black people in the eyes and collective psyche of the white world. The struggles against slavery, colonialism and all forms of anti-black segregation like apartheid were essentially struggles for human rights. They were struggles to end systems that created, regarded and socialised black people as an inferior, hated and despised people.

Our country still suffered anti-black racism because the legacies of slavery, colonialism and apartheid are still with us. These histories have ensured that generation after generation, black people are reproduced as inferior, cheap and disposable people who live for the advancement of white people.

Until there is land restoration and a process which reorganises black people’s settlements in terms of housing, sanitation and access to basic services like electricity and water; until black people can get access to quality education up to university level and have access to decent capital to engage in the development of new industries which produce for people and not for profit; until such a time all these are realised, the humanity of black people will remain obscure to the white world.

On this day the EFF reiterates the call for expropriation of land without compensation for equal redistribution. We call on all apartheid and colonial statues and symbols to be removed from our public spaces as they symbolise pass laws that deny total claim of our public spaces as truly ours. We call on University of Stellenbosch, University of South Africa and University of Pretoria to remove Afrikaans as a language or medium of instruction. In these universities, Afrikaans also functions in the same manner as pass laws in that it creates white only classes and thus maintains their privilege as a race.

The only way to guarantee the human rights of black people is by reconciling them to the means of substance. The EFF believes that ultimately until the system of European capitalist modernity that elevated production for profit and not for people is dismantled, the struggle for human rights will remain incomplete. The dehumanisation of black people is essential to the system of capitalist modernity and the ultimate goal for genuine liberation is to end all forms of production for profit and lead society to produce for people.


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