The event at Sharpeville marked unquestionably a turning point in the struggle for liberation in South Africa. This event was the massacre of demonstrators protesting at Sharpeville, a relatively small township south of Johannesburg. The massacre at Sharpeville can be compared to the Armistar massacre in India 40 years before it. Although Sharpeville is on a smaller scale in regards to the number of deaths, they have both played a key part in changing the future of the nation. .
As a respected African church leader, Canon Burgess Carr of Liberia described the massacre at Sharpeville as: .
" the watershed which spurred the outpour of revolutionary struggle against white minority rule and colonialism throughout southern Africa.".
The shooting of demonstrators at Sharpeville did not put fear in the hearts of South African people, but rather rage and determination. The people of South Africa were now prepared to fight for their freedom, and the African National Congress (ANC), and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) developed militant groups for this purpose. The shooting put the system of apartheid under the condemning eyes of the international community, and gave just grounds to all those that opposed the racial segregation and oppression in South Africa, to work towards dismantling the apartheid policy.
Early Monday morning, 21st of March 1960, Africans throughout the nation gathered within their towns at the request of Robert Sobukwe, the PAC leader, to protest against the pass laws. The pass laws demanded that every African carry a passport containing information about their employment, criminal record, residential address and areas they are allowed to be in, to name a few. These laws formed a cornerstone of the government's apartheid policy, and as they affected every black person throughout South Africa, protest against the passes easily received the support of every African man, woman and child.