Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 67

Sharpeville massacre

south africa anc african

(21 Mar 1960) A major incident in the black African township of Sharpeville in Transvaal province, South Africa, when police opened fire on a crowd demonstrating against the laws restricting non-white movements and requiring non-whites to carry identification (the pass laws); 69 people were killed and 180 wounded. The anti-pass-law campaign had been called by both the African National Congress (ANC) and the rival Pan-African Congress (PAC). The massacre produced an international outcry, and made black nationalism in South Africa increasingly radical. The ANC formed a fighting wing, the Umkhonte We Sizwe (‘Spear of the Nation’), and both the ANC and PAC were banned. Later in the year South Africa became a republic, and was refused re-admission to the Commonwealth.

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