On March 21, 1960, 69 people were gunned down during a peaceful protest at Sharpeville against the pass laws. File picture: Independent Media Archives
A wise man can teach you ways of wisdom. A strong man can teach you how to rely on your inner strength. A rich man can teach you how to invest your money. A good leader can teach you how to follow your dreams. A good human rights activist can teach you your rights, but no one can ever teach you to stand up against what's wrong. No one can teach you to oppose what he had agreed with. The people of Sharpeville had no rights, only a wrong and brutal apartheid system. 

Their agony inspired bravery, and awakened warriors within them. I quote Martin Luther King "If you can't fly then run; if you can't run then walk; if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." 

They knew deep in their hearts that they have to keep moving. Once the desire for change is greater than the fear, then change is at the doorpost. What happened in Sharpeville shouldn't be only in our history as a nation. However, it should also inspire every generation to play their role in making our motherland a better place. 

"I don't want to fly because it reminds me of the bullets that were flying in Sharpeville. The bullets were flying to people and the people were flying from the bullets. I don't want to walk because they walked peacefully but it took away their lives. I don't want to crawl because it reminds me of many who crawled wounded. I want to run because life is a race. We are in a race for equality, genuine reconciliation, justice, and accountability."

We owe it to ourselves and those who died for our freedom to continue with the struggle. We don't want to be heroes we just want to do the right thing. To ensure we give the very same gift we inherited to the next generation. The gift of prosperity, stability and security. What will be the impact of rights if the system is still wrong? 

I relate to what President Mandela meant when he said; "During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

South Africa is a blessed and beautiful nation, and we have a rich heritage. A heritage that we should teach and learn from. We must never forget where we come from. At the same time we shouldn't allow the past to define our future. 

Our nation deserves a decent dialogue that will lead us to realisation, accountability and genuine reconciliation. "Sometimes a bitter past is there to give us a better future." We need leaders who will use the past to improve and unite us, not to divide us. Leaders who will bring forth solutions that are equal to the problems we have. 

"Because leadership is not a career, but it's a calling that comes with great responsibilities." 

Let us make sure we never forget the selfless efforts and sacrifices that the people of Sharpeville made for our priceless freedom. I am humbly and kindly requesting all South Africans despite the; race, gender, religion, and status, to light a white candle  on 21 March at 21:00 for an hour (the hour of hope). And to pray for surviving families of Sharpeville victims, and a forgiving spirit and progressive nation. 

I thank you! 

* Shikobela is a minister at Holy Faith Family Church, a motivational speaker, a business director, and an aspiring social consciousness author, who just finished penning his first book titled Invisible Victories. He is in the process of registering a new political party named Voice of the Nation (VN).

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.