|The iconic photograph that symbolizes the Soweto uprising. Hector Pieterson (13 years old) being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo after being shot the first person to be shot by a South African policeman with live bullets. Source: wikipedia|
Today marks 38 years since the Soweto Uprising of 1976 in which ordinary high school students in the South Western Townships of Johannesburg started a series of protests in response to the forced introduction of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in their schools. Approximately 20,000 young people took to the streets in protest to ensure their rights under the oppressive apartheid regime. The uprising was brutally crushed by the apartheid government and between 176 and 700 young people died. Like the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, the Soweto Uprising had a poignant impact on the fight against apartheid. It was a defining moment that demonstrated the brutal inhumanity of the apartheid regime. Although the apartheid regime was only completely confined to the dustbin of history 18 years after the events of 16th June, it had a lasting impact on South African history. The sacrifices made by these brave students for the generations of South Africans who have come after can never be forgotten.