11 June 2017

South Africa: Betraying the Martyrs of June 1976

opinion

The ruling elites and their cohorts are betraying the martyrs of June 1976 on the altar of greed.

The catalyst for the democratic freedoms we now enjoy was the sacrifices of the youth of June 1976 (influenced by Black Consciousness), and those who followed, who were at the vanguard of the freedom struggle. With the banning of the ANC and PAC in 1960, and the arrest of leaders (many escaped into exile), there was a quiescence in anti-apartheid protests until the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising. In 1978, John Kane-Berman contended that "June 1976, like Sharpeville 16 years before, was another turning point where South Africa did not turn".

Reflecting on the events of that tragic day, one of the leaders of the Soweto uprising, Sibongile Mkhabela, said: "There was something beautiful and dignified about the gathering of the students that morning at the Naledi High School ... As we left the school gates we chanted the sorrowful Senzeni Na? Isono sethu bubumnyama lamabhunu ayizinja (What have we done? Our crime is our blackness. These white rulers are dogs) ... The events of the cold morning of June 16, 1976 are written in blood, ash and tears".

Sadly, the present...

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