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.


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