Sharpeville, Gauteng
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Sharpeville (also spelled Sharpville) is a
township A township is a kind of human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings g ...
situated between two large industrial cities,
Vanderbijlpark Vanderbijlpark is an industrial city with approximately 75 000 inhabitants, and 95 000 inhabitants in the metropole, situated on the Vaal River in the south of Gauteng province, South Africa. The city is named after Hendrik van der Bijl, an ele ...
and
Vereeniging Vereeniging () is a city located in the south of Gauteng province, South Africa, situated where the Klip River empties into the northern loop of the Vaal River. It is also one of the constituent parts of the Vaal Triangle region and was formerly si ...
, in southern
Gauteng Gauteng ( ; tn, Gauteng; Northern and Southern Sotho: ; zu, eGoli; ts, Gauteng/; Ndebele Ndebele may refer to: *Southern Ndebele people, located in South Africa *Northern Ndebele people, located in Zimbabwe and Botswana About It is a lang ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
. Sharpeville is one of the oldest of six townships in the
Vaal Triangle The Vaal Triangle is a triangular A triangle is a polygon In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space ...

Vaal Triangle
. It was named after John Lillie Sharpe who came to South Africa from Glasgow, Scotland, as secretary of Stewarts & Lloyds. Sharpe was elected to the
Vereeniging Vereeniging () is a city located in the south of Gauteng province, South Africa, situated where the Klip River empties into the northern loop of the Vaal River. It is also one of the constituent parts of the Vaal Triangle region and was formerly si ...
City Council in 1932 and held the position of mayor from 1934 to 1937. The main reason for the establishment of Sharpeville was the relocation of people from "Top Location" to an area away from Vereeniging because it was felt black people were too close to
Vereeniging Vereeniging () is a city located in the south of Gauteng province, South Africa, situated where the Klip River empties into the northern loop of the Vaal River. It is also one of the constituent parts of the Vaal Triangle region and was formerly si ...
for comfort. Because the project was intended only to relocate residents of "Top Location", and not to house additional people, it did not alleviate the housing shortage. What was planned as a five-year resettlement project beginning in 1935, in fact, took 20 years. In 1941, 16,000 people lived in "Top Location". The building of the houses only started in 1942. A sub-economic housing scheme was used for Sharpeville. Water was free but 14 houses shared one tap and there were two bathing complexes in the township. By 1946 some of the houses had their own taps and bathrooms. The township was first called "Sharpe Native Township" but it changed to Sharpeville in the 1950s.


Place in South African history

With the implementation of the apartheid government's Group Areas Act 21 of 1950, it was estimated that over 3.5 million South Africans were forcibly removed from 1960 to 1982. Of the "Top Location" residents, Blacks were moved to Sharpeville,
Coloureds Coloureds ( af, Kleurlinge or , ) are a multiracial Multiracial people are people of more than one race or ethnicity. A variety of terms have been used for multi-racial people, including ''mixed-race'', ''biracial'', ''multiethnic'', '' ...
to Rus-ter-vaal and
Indians Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
to Roshnee. The Indians were the last ethnic group to leave "Top Location", the last residents being moved to Roshnee in 1974. In 2004, the people of Top Location were compensated for the loss of their properties and land, and an amount of R60,000 per house was paid to all former residents or dependants. On 21 March 1960 the Sharpeville massacre occurred when the PAC (
Pan Africanist Congress The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (known as the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)) is a South African national liberation Pan-Africanist Pan-Africanism is a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity betwee ...
) organised a protest in which black Africans attempted to hand in to police their
Apartheid Apartheid (South African English South African English (SAfrE, SAfrEng, SAE, en-ZA) is the set of English language dialects native to South Africans. History British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * B ...

Apartheid
-required pass books which restricted them from going in certain areas. What had started as a peaceful protest soon became violent, as a result of which
South African Police The South African Police (SAP) was the national police force and law enforcement agency in South Africa from 1913 to 1994; it was the ''de facto'' police force in the territory of South West Africa (Namibia) from 1939 to 1981. After South Afr ...
opened firearms on the crowd. Sixty-nine black people were killed and 178 wounded by police during the violence. Sharpeville was also the site of a murder in 1983 which led to the arrest, trial, and controversial death sentences (later commuted) of the Sharpeville Six. Symbolically, Nelson Mandela signed the South African Constitution in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996. He also opened "The Sharpeville Memorial" to honour the victims of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960. 21 March is now celebrated as Human Rights Day.


Neighbouring townships

Neighbouring townships include Evaton, Orange Farm, Bophelong, Small Farms, Golden Gardens, and Sebokeng.


References


External links


Sharpeville
{{Authority control Sharpeville, Townships in Gauteng Populated places in the Emfuleni Local Municipality