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September 28 , 2010

Sharpeville: An Apartheid Massacre and its Consequences


On 21 March 1960 several hundred black Africans were injured and 69 killed when South African police opened fire on demonstrators in the township of Sharpeville, protesting against the Apartheid regime's racist 'pass' laws. The Sharpeville Massacre, as the event has become known, signalled the start of armed resistance in South Africa, and prompted worldwide condemnation of South Africa's Apartheid policies. The events at Sharpeville deeply affected the attitudes of both black and white in South Africa and provided a major stimulus to the development of an international 'Anti-Apartheid' movement. In Sharpeville, Tom Lodge explains how and why the Massacre occurred, looking at the social and political background to the events of March 1960, as well as the sequence of events that prompted the shootings themselves. He then broadens his focus to explain the long-term consequences of Sharpeville, explaining how it affected South African politics over the following decades, both domestically and also in the country's relationship with the rest of the world.

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