50 years after the Sharpeville Massacre changed the face of South African politics forever, thousands have gathered to remember and pay their respects.
69 died and 180 were injured when police opened fire on protestors angry at being forced to carry passbooks, one of the most hated symbols of apartheid.
“Freedom also obliges communities themselves to take ownership to protect everyone’s human rights and protect the members of our society.” said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in his speech to the crowd.
Eyewitnesses described how the police fired indiscriminately at men, women and children as they ran away.
Those fifteen minutes became a turning-point in the struggle against apartheid.
At the local cemetery, dozens gathered to lay wreaths on the gravestones of those killed.
“ I just say, “Sleep well, we will always remember you”. Then, from today, we will never cry again. We forgive those who did this to you, but we will never forget.” said one survivor.