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Social sciences

History

Grade 9

Sa from 1948 to 2000: nationalism

Module 1

The soweto uprising

Activity:

The soweto uprising

“From the moment of the Nationalists’ election we knew that our land would henceforth be a place of tension and strife’.

Words said by Nelson Mandela

SOURCE A:

Urgent telegrams are sent to government officials

On 25 May 1976, Fred van Wyk, the director of the South African Institute of Race Relations, sent an urgent telegram to Progressive Reform Party MP Renè de Villiers: ‘Deeply concerned Afrikaans medium controversy black schools,’ it said. ‘Position Soweto very serious. Could you discuss matter with Minister…?

On 11 June Van Wyk sent another telegram to De Villiers, who again spoke to Treurnicht. The Minister, however, disagreed that there had been an escalation of the dispute. He had reason to believe, he assured De Villiers, that the matter would be amicably settled.

Five days later, the storm broke…

On 13 June delegates representing all the secondary schools in Soweto elected an action committee to plan a protest march through the township, to be followed by a mass rally at the Orlando football stadium.

The march had been set for Wednesday, 16 June at 7 am. By 6 o’clock hundreds of pupils were already gathered at the more than a dozen assembly points. The mood of the crowd was relaxed, even jovial, when marshalls began handing out tattered pieces of cardboard on which were scrawled slogans such as ‘Down with Afrikaans’, ‘Bantu Education – to hell with it’, and ‘Afrikaans is a tribal language’.

Quoted from: READER’S DIGEST ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF SOUTH AFRICA )

SOURCE B:

Students’ pamphlet

A CALL TO ALL

NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THE STRUGGLE FOR HUMAN DIGNITYAWAKE AND RISE AGAINST THE UNJUST SYSTEMWE THE STUDENTS OF THE CAPE PENINSULA DECLARE THAT:

  • We identify with the struggle for a basic human society
  • We want free and equal education for all
  • We condemn all institutions which retard human progress
  • Give the workers equal wages and work according to merit
  • Stop influx control

STUDENTS YOU HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY IN THE CHANGE.ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE MUST STAND UP AND BE COUNTED SO UNITE NOW.

SOURCE C: One unforgettable image

Sam Nzima, 63, was a photojournalist for The World newspaper when he took one of the century’s most powerful photographs. Twenty-two years later, he recalls the experience.

The day before 16 June 1976, news editor Percy Qoboza told us that township students planned to march from Naledi High School to the Department of Education.

Percy told us to be on stand by from early morning, and at around 6 am a driver picked up journalist Sophie Thema and me. We arrived at Naledi High School where the students were preparing placards, and at approximately 6.30 am, about 800 started marching…

I looked across the river and saw a convoy of police vans on the hill…

The police were headed by a white man who began waving a stick and screaming:

‘Weg is julle. Ons gee julle drie minute.’

‘We’re going to shoot,’ he said, and pulled out his handgun. He pointed it directly at the students and fired two shots. All hell broke loose.

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Source:  OpenStax, History grade 9. OpenStax CNX. Sep 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11063/1.1
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