21 March 1995
Since 1995, Human Rights Day has been a public holiday celebrated in South Africa. It shares the day with the anniversary of the infamous Sharpeville Massacre, which occurred in 1960. This gross violation of human life happened when a march by ordinary South Africans protesting the Pass Laws turned into a police-led bloodbath. The day marked a turning point for the future of South Africa and the struggle for liberation, which intensified in its wake. The police brutality on display during Sharpeville, as well as other innumerable acts of violence under Apartheid, are what inspired South Africa's famously progressive Bill of Rights, in which the right to life, regardless of race, gender or age is entrenched.