5 ways to make Human Rights Day matter

We all love a public holiday, but Human Rights Day in South Africa is about more than a day off – it commemorates the 69 lives lost on 21 March 1960, when police fired on Pass Law protestors in Sharpeville. Here are some suggestions on how to spend this important day in Cape Town to make it matter.

1. Take the revolutionary route

Take the path less travelled by – join the Revolutions Route tour through Cape Town to celebrate some of South Africa’s many revolutionaries. The city walls and streets still tell their extraordinary stories, long after they’ve passed on. Read more

2. Get up, stand up… swim for your rights

Take the plunge with the Freedom Swim team to raise awareness for human rights at the same time as raising funds for the Vista Nova School for children with special needs. The challenging swim starts from icy Camp’s Bay Beach, but don’t freak out: if you’re not a swimming medallist there are short swims too. Choose from 800m, 1.6km (1 mile) or 4.8km (3 mile). But hurry – entries close Friday 18 March. Read more

3. Connect in the Company’s Gardens

Chilling in the Company’s Gardens and watching bands must be the easiest way to connect with your community while you’re having a good time – do it at the “One city, many cultures” Cape Town Festival. There’ll be a craft market, art, food and of course awesome live acts like Jimmy Nevis, Youngsta, Vicky Sampson, Chad Saaiman and Lady Noir. This is a whole weekend gig, so pick any day. Read more

4. Pay homage to the Cape slaves

Make a trip to the Slave Lodge – the museum which was once a “home” for slaves, convicts and mentally ill people – and find out the stories of these people struggling for survival under extreme conditions. Read more

5. Pay it forward

Choose a way to make a difference. There are countless non-profit organisations doing good in Cape Town, from The Big Issue giving unemployed people a hand up not a hand out, to Greenpop starting a “Treevolution”. Pick one. Support one. Pay it forward.

Not sure what project best suits what you’ve got to give? Go check out For Good, a website that connects good people to good causes.