SOWETO IN JUNE 16 1976
During the time of struggle, June 16 1976 a day that changed the course of South African’s history. The Bantu education was introduced which is a project of the department of native affairs that cater for black people. In June 1976 government came with the compulsory use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction I schools, black students began mobilizing themselves. These students fought for not being taught in this language. There was much oppression through the inferior education which was one of the factors which led to 1976 Soweto uprising. This is a day that honors the deaths of the hundreds of the Soweto schoolchildren.
The youth uprising of 1976 were led by many factors. One day, the government and the police caught off guard, when simmering bubble of anger of schoolchildren finally bust, releasing an intensity of emotions that the police controlled by shots. Bantu education was introduced by the National party in 1954. Before that Black children did not go to school which then fell away with a new system. For the sake of uniform English and Afrikaans were to be used as a medium of instruction in all schools. When the pupils heard that, they planned a march from school to the Orlando stadium. The police formed a wall facing the pupils, warning them to disperse. Then the police started shooting and one of the pupils Hector Pieterson died. Then students targeted the offices, government buses and vehicles and municipal beer halls with stones and rocks. The street and township was littered with upturned vehicles. The injured pupils were taken to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. This forced government to allow all principals to choose their own medium of instruction. Many left South Africa to join the armies of the exiled political movements.
This brought so much positive in the country because more schools and a teacher training college were built in Soweto. Urban blacks were given permanent status as city dwellers. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals were now also allowed to practice in the township. This march played a significant role in inspiring generations of young people in the anti-apartheid struggle to take action, even at the expense of sacrificing their lives. It held the freedom upon our hands and teaches us how to be responsible. It gave us joy to the changes brought by our brothers, sisters and parents, who gave up their lives in order for us, the youth of today, to have access to better education and to live in a free and non-discriminatory society.
These activities had at least major effects in South Africa society. It contributed to the stereotyping of youth, particularly black youth as stone-throwing, unruly, undisciplined and faceless mobs. It also led to the use of education context as sites of political struggle which had a negative consequences for a quality of learning for a generation of school children. The events and the world’s reaction shook white business leaders, who began to put pressure on the government to reform. The banning of all organizations with links to the Black Consciousness Movement suggests that the government had no doubt that the ideology posed a threat to white domination and was behind the 1976 uprising.
The role played by Hector and his colleagues in the BCM, as well as in the fight for South Africa’s freedom cannot be under-estimated. Hector’s life reflected the aspirations of many frustrated young Black intellectuals. Therefore, when he died, he became a martyr and symbol of Black Nationalism, and his struggle focused critical world attention on South Africa more than ever before.