Olefile Masangane

Remembering Sharpeville and reflecting on human rights

Blog , Faith

March is an important month for remembering and reflecting. During this time, we remind ourselves of the importance of human rights and commemorate the lives of those who were slain in the Sharpeville Massacre on 21 March 1960. These people, under the excellent leadership of Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe, braved the odds and staged a protest against carrying dompasses at the Sharpville police station. What was meant to be a peaceful protest turned into a blood bath as police opened fire on unarmed civilians. As we look back at this historical event, we are grieved and grateful for the sacrifices made by these brave souls, because without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.

The Bible is full scriptures that encourage us to remember what God has brought his people out of. From creation to the liberation of Israel from Egypt, God’s children are encouraged to tell future generations about the works of the Lord. We are encouraged to REMEMBER.

The Christian community is also currently in the middle of Lent, which is an important part of the liturgical calendar and echoes the 40-day period Jesus spent fasting in the desert before beginning his ministry. During this time, I have been reflecting on the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.

One of these is the anointing of Jesus at Bethany. This is the story of a woman who broke all protocols and went straight to Jesus to anoint him with an expensive perfume (Matthew 26:6-13). I was particularly moved by verse 13 of this passage:

Truly I tell you, whenever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

These words of Christ are so comforting and redeeming for this woman who was excluded from society. I can only imagine the silence in the room as Jesus said these things about her in the presence of her mockers.

My reflection on this story coincided with International Women’s Day on 8 March and led me to think about the numerous nameless women who contributed so much to our liberation, and yet whose stories are not told. I think about vulnerable women and children fleeing war zones in Ukraine and the Congo who will never know what “normality” feels like. And my prayer is that they too will not be forgotten as we reflect on our common humanity.

As we build in our communities let us remember to include the voices and stories of those who are sometimes overlooked, and to take time to remember where we have come from.

Olefile Masangane

Olefile Masangane is married to Mmathapelo and they have two beautiful children. He is a worship leader and musician, and the Church Liaison Manager at Heartlines. 

Connect with him @olefilem on Twitter or Instagram.

Featured

The book that changed my life

Read more

You may also like

Brett 'Fish' Anderson

Rise up with hope

Brett 'Fish' Anderson encourages us to fight for hope in the midst of the darkness and suffering we see in the world around us.

Read more
Edwin Arrison

Advent reflection for 2021

Edwin Arrison shares how the hope of Christ can change our perspective and focus in a chaotic, painful world.

Read more
Craig Bouchier

Heritage Day reflections

In light of Heritage Day, Heartlines regional representative Craig Bouchier reflects on his own identity journey and the work being done to unite different communities after the recent unrest and violence in some parts of South Africa.

Read more
Merrishia Singh-Naicker

The hope of Spring

Relationship and family therapist Merrishia Singh-Naicker shares her thoughts on how we can enter into the new season of Spring with renewed hope, even as we honestly face the reality of increasing violence against women and girls.

Read more

How to close the gap between a belief in good values, and ethical behaviour?

"...if you are involved in this heartless corruption which risks the lives of people and leaves the poor to live in abject poverty you are denying the very tenets of your faith." – Rev. Frank Chikane Read more