16th June 1976, SOWETO

As you all should know this Month is Youth Month and all South Africans share this month just for one sad Day being the 16th of June, where many young Men and Women died for what they believed was right.

The Soweto Uprising, was a series of student-led protests in South Africa that began on the morning of June 16, 1976. Students from numerous Sowetan schools began to protest in the streets of Soweto, in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. An estimated 20 000 students took part in the protests, and roughly 176 people were killed The 16th of June is now a public holiday, Youth Day, in South Africa, in remembrance of the events in 1976

Causes of the protests

Black students in Soweto protested against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50-50 mix as languages of instruction. The Regional Director of Bantu Education (Northern Transvaal Region), J.G. Erasmus, told Circuit Inspectors and Principals of Schools that from January 1, 1975, Afrikaans had to be used for mathematics, arithmetic, and social studies from standard five (7th grade), according to the Afrikaans Medium Decree, English would be the medium of instruction for general science and practical subjects (homecraft, needlework, woodwork, metalwork, art, agricultural science). Indigenous languages would only be used for religion instruction, music, and physical culture.

The association of Afrikaans with apartheid prompted black South Africans to prefer English. Even the homelands regimes chose English and an indigenous African language as official languages. In addition, English was gaining prominence as the language most often used in commerce and industry. The 1974 decree was intended to forcibly reverse the decline of Afrikaans among black Africans. The Afrikaner-dominated government used the clause of the 1909 Constitution that recognized only English and Afrikaans as official languages as pretext to do so. While all schools had to provide instruction in both Afrikaans and English as languages, white students learned other subjects in their home language.

Punt Janson, the Deputy Minister of Bantu Education at the time, was quoted as saying: “I have not consulted the African people on the language issue and I’m not going to. An African might find that ‘the grootbaas’ only spoke Afrikaans or only spoke English. It would be to his advantage to know both languages”.

The decree was resented deeply by blacks as Afrikaans was widely viewed, in the words of Desmond Tutu, then Dean of Johannesburg as “the language of the oppressor”. Teacher organizations such as the African Teachers Association of South Africa objected to the decree.

The resentment grew until April 30, 1976, when children at Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike, refusing to go to school. Their rebellion then spread to many other schools in Soweto. A student from Morris Isaacson High School, Teboho ‘Tsietsi’ Mashinini, proposed a meeting on June 13, 1976, to discuss what should be done. Students formed an Action Committee (later known as the Soweto Students’ Representative Council) that organized a mass rally for June 16 to make themselves heard.


“The year is gone but history is written.
It’s written and recorded in the media.
To inform the youth and the future young ones.
To inform them about 16 June 1976 in Soweto- Sharpeville,
Soweto uprising!

When the whole of Sharpville was covered by a black cloud.
Students walking all over the streets of Soweto,
Marching and striking against the language policy in schools.
Striking against use of Afrikaans language in all subjects.
During the era of apartheid government.
June 16 1976- Soweto uprising,

The memorable day of our late brothers and sisters of 1976.
The day in which they were shot and killed like animals.
The prominent figures in the country indeed!
Dying for their rights against white apartheid government.
June 16 1976 I still have its picture in my mind.
When our late brothers and sisters were killed like animals.
When our late brothers and sisters struggled for freedom.
Freedom that we have today.
June 16 1976 it is gone,
But I still commemorate the day
June 16, Youth Day
The memorable day of victims of June 16 1976 Soweto Uprising.
A day to recall Hector Peterson a 12 year old boy.
An international icon of South African’s struggle for freedom,When he was shot dead by cops during a school strike.

June 16 1976, this is the year of our late heroes and heroines of 1976.
Our late heroes- our late heroines of 16 June1976,
Who fought for freedom we have today.
Freedom that youth of today have.

And the right to use mother language as the first language.
I will always respect and commemorate every 16 June.
The important day for every youth to commemorate.
Celebrate the day in the memory of our freedom fighters.
The freedom fighters of 16 June 1976.
June 16 we will always commemorate the day.
June 16 1976 I will always recall the day.”

This day will for ever be remember decades after decades…

Remember Hector Peterson, Mbuyisa Makhubo & Antoinette Sithole(Hector Peterson’s Sister) not forgetting Teboho “Tsietsi” MacDonald Mashinini, a LEADER•MOTIVATOR•SOLDIER!

Let’s celebrate our FALLEN HEROES and June 16 in an honorable way. “The ’76ers’ fought hard for us to live as we do today. Never let their sacrifice go in vain, VIVA!!

In honour of the young students who fought for freedom in 1976; put the name of your former/current high school as your display name until the end of the day today, whether it be on Facebook, BBM, Twitter or any other Social Network.


~ by frolic6ent on June 15, 2011.

One Response to “16th June 1976, SOWETO”

  1. Long live our heroes and heroines, your efforts are not in vain. It’s because of your sacrifice that Africans control SA

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