Awkies, guys, South Africa’s Department of International Relations / Foreign affairs (Dirco)Twitter account got a bit confused when it posted about Human Rights Day.
In a now deleted Tweet, the official account used the iconic photo of Hector Pieterson – who died during the Soweto uprising – alongside a Tweet about Human Rights Day.
But this is the internet and nothing happens without it being screengrabbed first. The screengrab has been widely shared on social media.
All other Tweets shared about Human Rights Day were on message and correct, so, perhaps this one was just an honest mistake and what the account was trying to say is that we should remember everyone who died fighting for freedom?
Some folks on Twitter certainly think that’s the case.
But others weren’t so sure.
— Andreas Wenzel (@awenzel74) March 21, 2018
Shouldn’t we be putting up pics of Sobukwe instead of Peterson. Ayi suka.
— Dubelihle wa Diphsy (@SneshyDubelihle) March 21, 2018
Very disappointing @DIRCO_ZA! How are the youth going to know the painful history of SA if you can't even get it right!
— ☮️ (@Sanush28) March 21, 2018
— Stormyweather (@GailLutz1) March 21, 2018
Delete this. Apply your mind, then repost. Come on, go ahead, you can do it…blame an intern afterwards.
— Nanamhla (@NanamhlaM) March 21, 2018
Dirco wasn’t the only Twitter account to get it wrong. Chief executive of the Sygnia Group, Magda Wierzycka, did exactly the same – just a few hours before Dirco’s slip up. She immediately apologised.
Globally, Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December, but South Africa’s version is dedicated to the men, women and children who lost their lives in Sharpeville when police opened fire on a group of protestors who were standing up against the country’s pass laws.
There were almost 300 casualties in total, 69 of them fatal. Many of the victims were women and children, many were shot in the back as they were trying to flee.
The massacre is viewed by many as a turning point in South Africa’s history. Although apartheid would not end until some years after, the incident made global headlines and the country increasingly found itself isolated from the international community.