Memories of Bhisho Massacre still fresh on Ramaphosa's mind

September 8, 2015, 4:20am

Memories of Bhisho Massacre still fresh on Ramaphosa's mind

Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to continue fighting for equality and the eradication of poverty and unemployment, in memory of those who were killed during the Bhisho Massacre on September 7 1992.

"As we remember those who fell at this place on that dark, dark day in September 1992, let us commit ourselves to completing the march that they started," he said.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the commemoration of the Bhisho Massacre where 28 people were shot and killed by the then Ciskei Defence Force during a protest march.

Ramaphosa had been leading the march with struggle stalwarts Chris Hani, Ronnie Kasrils, Tokyo Sexwale and Steve Tshwete.

"Just as we arrived at the razor wire, the shooting began. Then we heard explosions. We all dropped to the ground. Then there was a short pause before a second volley of fire started.

"Several people in my immediate vicinity were shot. The shooting continued for a minute or two. When the shooting ended, many people were dead and many more were injured," Ramaphosa said.

"We were shocked and outraged. There had been no provocation by the marchers, who were all unarmed and controlled by marshals.

"The Ciskei security forces had made no attempt to warn the marchers before shooting, nor did they attempt to exercise any form of crowd control."

Even after 23 years, there was still a lot the country needed to do, Ramaphosa said.

"As we gather here, 23 years after that fatal day, we know that the road is long and that we have much further to travel.

"For they were marching not only for the right to organise, speak and protest.

"They were marching not only for the right to vote and be treated as equals before the law.

"They sought a society in which a black child would be born with all the rights, opportunities and material security as any white child. They sought a society in which everyone would be free to pursue their dreams and realise their potential.

"As we gather here, 23 years later, we must ask ourselves whether we are on course to realise the society for which they sacrificed their lives," Ramaphosa said.

Mpho Raborife, News24