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The Sharpeville massacre.

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Introduction

The Sharpeville Massacre History Essay 2 Christina Whitfield 11AST Why has the event known as the Sharpeville Massacre produced such different interpretations? In February of 1960 the English Prime Minister went to South Africa to make what is now a famous speech, saying that his government did not approve of the Apartheid and said that they could no longer ignore the demands of the black people. (Apartheid= no rights for blacks, this was what the Nationalists wanted, these people were mostly Afrikaans) The Nationalist party did not approve of this speech, as they thought that change did not need to come, black people, in their eyes, were beneath them. Most of the Nationalists were white settlers, and they thought that they were superior to black natives. The Apartheid system was enough to satisfy them. But the Blacks thought very differently. For example, if you didn't have your passbook you could suffer from a month's imprisonment or face a hefty fine. This system was a very unfair way of life for the Blacks. ...read more.

Middle

For example, a Sharpeville resident called Mahabane claimed that when he was standing at his door, two white police men came and asked him for water, when he returned with the water they said to him that the shooting was going to start at 2 o'clock. But others such as Humphrey Tyler, a reporter for the Drum magazine wrote that the police said they 'were in desperate danger because the crowd was stoning them.' They were also armed with 'ferocious weapons.' Although Tyler does go on to say that he studied the photos carefully and that there was no evidence of them doing this. Also another source also tells us that the Africans began stoning police vehicles and described them as a mob. (The Times British Newspaper, March 22nd 1960) This, however may be propaganda, because it does not say how or where they got this information from. When they got to the police station the police were already at the door, says the source in the textbook. ...read more.

Conclusion

This must mean that they are the ones in danger. I think that there is crucial physical evidence missing from this because there was no actual witness's form both sides who agree on what happened. The two sides spent all their time trying to pin the blame on each other, rather than trying to come to some sort of agreement and to try and compromise with each other. I think that the police must have heard from a source that they were coming, they saw his as a perfect opportunity to show that the white people really were 'superior' to the Black's. The police were trying to make an example of the Black's who did wrong and didn't follow by their rules. They were trying to prevent change. But I do not think that we can pass judgement on what actually happened that day simply because there is no physical evidence, even photos can be unreliable, the people in source B could have simply been acting. Had there been actual physical evidence such as filming, we could have caught the Apartheid system red-handed and put a stop to the awful treatment which the Black native's of their own land received. ...read more.

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