16 December 1959 - At the annual African National Congress (ANC) conference, Chief Albert Luthuli declared that 1960 would be the "Year of the Pass", with a nation-wide anti-pass campaign to start on 31 March - the anniversary of the 1919 Anti-Pass Campaign
19 March 1960 – the PAC calls on Black South Africans to leave their pass books at home and give themselves up at the nearest police station. This was done in an attempt to clog the system up
21 March 1960 – March in Sharpeville lead by the Pan Africanist Congress is attacked by police leading to the death of 69 people. Another march in Langa, Cape Town leads to the death of two protesters by the police
24 March 1960 – The apartheid government bans all gatherings of more than twelve people until 30 June in an effort to disrupt the growing protests
25 March - Representatives of 29 African and Asian member-states request an urgent meeting of the United Nation Security Council to consider ,"the situation arising out of the large-scale killings of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators against racial discrimination and segregation in the Union of South Africa".
27 March - The Commissioner of Police announces that the pass laws are to be suspended until a normal situation has been restored, an occasion taken by Chief A. J. Luthuli to burn his pass. The Police Commissioner says, “that the pass laws are not being suspended to appease the unfounded protests of Bantu agitators, but because the jails can no longer accommodate the many Africans who present themselves for arrest by openly violating the pass laws.”
28 March - ANC calls a nation-wide stay-at-home in protest against the events in Sharpeville.
Pass books are burned across the country. O. R. Tambo leaves South Africa illegally on the instruction of the ANC to carry on work outside the country
Albert Luthuli publicly burns his pass.
30 March 1960 – State of emergency declared and over 11 000 people are detained. The United Nations Security Council begins discussions on South Africa
31 March 1960 – The government mobilises four more regiments of the Citizen’s Force
1 April 1960 – The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 134 that calls upon the South African government to abandon its apartheid policies and general discrimination. The resolution was passed with nine in favour and France and the United Kingdom abstaining.
Ten thousand Indians and two thousand Coloureds are ordered to leave Peitermaritzburg
5 April 1960 – The Torch and The New Age are banned as the government tries to gain control of the spread of information
6 April 1960 – The pass system is revived
7 April 1960 – The government passes the Unlawful Organisations Act that will ban the ANC, PAC, South African Communist Party (SACP). Furthermore the Extension of University Education Amendment Act, Act No 34, bans Black students from attending White universities
8 April 1960 – The ANC and PAC are banned. Justice Minister Erasmus states there can be no political organisation among urbanised Africans
11 April 1960 – In a further clampdown on the press Myrna Blumberg, a correspondent for the New York Post and London Daily, was detained and restricted