In 1959, as the FM went to print for the first time, SA stood on the brink of one of the most calamitous events in its history. Within months, a demonstration against pass laws in Sharpeville, a township in the Vaal Triangle, turned violent, the police opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people and injuring 180 others. It led to a brutal clampdown on all opposition to apartheid. In many ways, Sharpeville was the catalyst that opened the gates to the next three decades of repression and turmoil.

Today, the country stands once again on the threshold of a new era. Now, I’m confident that we’ll never return to the darkness of the past. But the actions we take now will determine whether this new era is one of gradual decline, or a bright new dawn in which the promise of our 1994 democratic breakthrough is realised.

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