• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Sharpeville Massacre Sources Question

Extracts from this document...


Sharpeville Massacre Sources Question 1) Source A is useful in that it provides detailed statistics about the massacre at Sharpeville, such as the date, number of protestors and the movement of the crowd towards the police station. It does not however provide any information about the shooting, such as who fired first or whether the protesters were armed. Source A appears to be a reliable source in that it is not biased in favour of either the blacks or the whites, simply providing the cold, hard truth. Using the information it Source A, I have written a short description of the events leading up to the police opening fire. At around 8am, a group of passbook protestors began to form into a group near the school in Seeiso Street. This group eventually merged with another group of protestors gathered near the police station, who were waiting for an announcement concerning passbooks. At any time the crowd probably contained around 5000 people. This number was greatly inflated at the following inquest into the events, possibly to make the protestors sound more dangerous. Whether this description is completely accurate cannot be determined. It is simply a description based on what is said in Source A. I am inclined to believe Source A, because the writer does not seem to have any opinion as to who was in the right at Sharpeville. 2a) Sources A and B differ in their description of the events at Sharpeville. The biggest difference is in the number of people in the crowd. Source A states that there were 5,000 people and that this number was greatly inflated by many others. ...read more.


Large crowds can be misjudged in terms of size, making five thousand people be mistaken for twenty thousand relatively easy. It is not, however, easy to mistake a crowd of 'several hundred' for twenty thousand. Again, this suggests that either the journalist was not an eyewitness or was not very observant. On the subject of observance, one fact that the author seems to be very sure about is the weapons used in the shooting - sten guns. "Quite suddenly there were bursts of firing, chiefly from sten guns" This person was not even accurate about the size of the crowd, why would he notice the type of guns used during in the shooting, unless he was positioned behind the police line. If he was, then it is very likely that this source is written with a very definite bias against the protestors. Source C also claims that the Africans were stoning the police. Again, both sources D and E disagree with this. Source E shows no fallen stones around the dead bodies and, as mentioned above, the writer of source D did not see any weapons at all, despite looking carefully. "I saw no weapons, though I looked carefully, and afterwards studied photographs of the death scenes" All of these factors contribute to this source being unreliable. Unfortunately, Source E cannot be used considered 'reliable' either. Any pictorial evidence presented to a historian must be able to stand up on it's own without requiring a title. If you take the title away from Source E, you are left with a photograph of some people lying on the ground. ...read more.


The experiences of Stephen Biko starkly show what Tutu was referring to. The formation of the South Africa Student Organisation (SASO) gave an outlet for ideas about Black Consciousness. "...Black people must build themselves into a position of non-dependence upon whites. They must work towards a self-sufficient political, social and economic unit. In this manner they will help themselves towards a deeper realisation of their potential and worth as self-respecting people. The confidence thus generated will give them a sense of pride and awareness." -Barney Pityana, 1967 Black Consciousness was also an important element of the civil rights movement the USA. With all the leaders imprisoned, the ANC formed an underground militant wing, called Umkhonto we Sizwe which planned and carried out a series of military attacks on power stations, railway lines, police stations and arranged for their members to be trained in neighbouring 'friendly countries'. (See apendix for their manifesto). In Britain and other commonwealth countries people were called upon to boycott South Africa by refusing to buy South African goods as well as cutting off academic, sporting and cultural links. The knowledge that international support existed gave the resistance movements the confidence to continue their struggle even in the face of appalling acts of government aggression such as the killing of school children protesting about being taught in Afrikaans which they saw to be the language of oppression. It took many more years of sustained political struggle before the transition to majority rule and democracy began in 1990 under the leadership of President de Klerk. Thus it can be seen that the continued use of the passbook after Sharpeville was only one manifestation of a repressive regime and the lifting of the pass laws alone would not have prevented the violence of the next three decades. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. The ending of white minority rule in South Africa was achieved only because of ...

    He unbanned the ANC, the PAC, the Communist Party and 30 other organisations; he freed political prisoners and suspended the death sentence. Nine days after this, he released Nelson Mandela from prison without conditions. From May 1990 to April 1994, apartheid fell.

  2. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    In 1905, when Europe was on the verge of WW1, as a means of security the British built the Break water that employed thousands of people. Military Architecture When the British came to Malta the first thing they did was to repair and improve the fortifications.

  1. Critically examine how Mahatma Gandhi used the concept of non-violence as a practical tool ...

    Britain no longer had the will or the resources to run India. Indeed, in 1946 Lord Wavell, the penultimate Viceroy of India, suggested British withdrawal from India, not because of overwhelming nationalist pressure (indeed, the INC and the Muslim League were in stalemate), but because government was on the verge of collapse (Marshall: 1996).

  2. How far has the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 influenced South Africa's social, ...

    It is the highest honour to lead the ANC at this moment in our history. I am your servant. This is a time to heal old wounds and build a new South Africa." And "We must begin to build a better life for all South Africans.

  1. South Africa 1945-1994 The end of Apartheid.

    This still had not led to a change of government there. One reason apartheid managed to survive was because it was profitable for the whites. The Africans may have believed that keeping apartheid could continue bringing in money as they were using blacks as cheap labour, which is beneficial especially to businesses.

  2. In what ways were the lives of South Africans changed by the policy of ...

    These people were moved to the Transkei and Ciskei homelands. These people were put into resettlement camps with very bad conditions. An example of one of these camps is the 'welcome valley' camp. The bad conditions included corrugated iron toilets, poor sanitation and no fertile land to grow crops.

  1. Select And Explain The Most Important Turning Points In Nelson Mandela's Life

    In response to the rising tide of resistance, the international community strengthened its support for the anti-Apartheid cause. A range of sanctions and boycotts was instituted, both unilaterally by countries across the world and through the United Nations (UN). These sanctions were called for in a co-ordinated strategy by the internal and external anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa.

  2. 1. What do you learn from Source A about ...

    Source D is very useful as it is a statement from a member of the Labour government sent to India on a mission to make India independent. Source D shows us that after WW2 Britain could no longer keep control of a large country like India as it was fought

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work