18 June 2019

South Africa: Unsung Heroes of 16 June 1976 - Events Leading Up to the Massacre and the Teachers and Parents Who Tried to Stop It

analysis

While it was the youth who most certainly led and initiated the pushback, the unsung heroes of the 1976 uprisings are the parents, principals and teachers who, witnessing the anger of a younger generation and understanding the blunt violence of the state, had tried to prevent the massacre with reason and petitions.

In 1968, almost eight years before the 1976 student uprisings against the enforcement of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools, the Broederbond, a secret Afrikaner society, resolved to "Afrikanerise" the black majority.

By the time 1976 rolled around, black parents, teachers, school boards and residents' associations had tried in vain for at least two years to meet and consult with government officials to warn of the devastating effects of the instruction to teach, in Afrikaans, half of the subjects taught at township schools.

Journalists Ivor Wilkins and Hans Strydom, in their 1978 exposé (later updated in 2012) titled The Super-Afrikaners -- Inside the Afrikaner Broederbond set out in detail how -- after the Department of Education had in 1974 sent out a circular to schools -- headmasters in Soweto protested and had attempted to make representations to the then Minister of Education, MC Botha, a...

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