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DIRCO slammed for Hector Pieterson pic alongside #SharpevilleMassacre Tweets

Oops. Somebody scheduling Tweets for South Africa’s Dirco account didn’t do their research – or didn’t double check – their posts before putting together a Human Rights Day Tweet. Totes awks.

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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.


Dirco Twitter human rights day

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.

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.

Human Rights Day in South Africa

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.