Welcome to the South African Embassy website and a new month with the following highlights;
Human Rights Month
South Africa commemorates Human Rights Month in March and Human Rights Day on 21 March.
Human Rights Day in South Africa is historically linked with 21 March 1960, and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights. It became an iconic date in South Africa’s history that today South Africans commemorate as Human Rights Day as a reminder of our rights and the cost paid for our treasured human rights.
What are human rights?
Human rights are rights that everyone should have simply because they are human. In 1948, the United Nations defined 30 articles of human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It established universal human rights on the basis of humanity, freedom, justice, and peace.
South Africa included indivisible human rights in his own Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. The said articles in Constitution can only be changed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament, which means it is difficult for anyone, including the government, to take away the basic rights of a citizen. The Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of the South African constitutional and representative democracy.
TB Awareness Month
Tuberculosis (TB) causes thousands of deaths every year in South Africa and the rest of the world.
Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died from TB. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top three causes of death for women aged 15 to 44. In 2012, an estimated 530 000 children became ill with TB and 74 000 HIV-negative children died of TB.
TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV causing one fifth of all deaths. The TB death rate dropped 45% between 1990 and 2012. An estimated 22 million lives saved through use of DOTS and the Stop TB Strategy recommended by WHO.
International Women's Day on 8 March
International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. The idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of the previous century, which in the industrialised world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies.
South Africa also celebrates National Women's Day on 9 August to commemorate the great Women's March of 1956, where women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the carrying of pass books.
Ambassador P I Malefane
South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey