- Msukaligwa Platteland
Sheepmoor is a small village in the Gert Sibande District Municipality in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
Although a most unassuming small village, Sheepmoor was once prominently featured in the annuls of South African history during the apartheid era (1966) when a young girl named Sandra Laing was re-classified from white to coloured and forcibly removed from a school hostel in Piet Retief. Later, the Sunday Times newspaper reported that parents of pupils at Sheepmoor school were threatening to withdraw their children if Sandra were admitted to the school. Neither Sheepmoor nor the hostel at Piet Retief would yield to an open letter published through the Sunday Times to the parents and children to allow her to attend.
This incident made history, in two ways in South Africa.
Firstly, it resulted in the Population Registration Amendment Act being changed, resulting in Act No. 64 of 1967 being drafted, providing that “ a person shall be classified as White if his natural parents have both been so classified.” Had this not been done, the reclassification of Sandra Laing from white to coloured, would have meant that she would not have been able to stay with her parents who were classified as whites, never mind still attend a white school.
Secondly, this case resulted in an anti-apartheid film being made in Britain about the racial discrimination within South Africa. Although being banned at that time in South Africa, part of the Sandra story has since been shown on SA-TV in 1999.