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Soweto massacre

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Soweto massacre

  1. 1. Soweto Uprising By Joaquin Olaizola and Antonia Flores Piran
  2. 2. The Soweto Uprising, began on the morning of 16 June 1976. There were a series of protests led by high school students in South Africa Between 10,000 and 20,000 black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium It was in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. Afrikaans is a west Germanic language , spoken in South Africa and Namibia, and to a lesser extent in Botswana and Zimbabwe. Teachers in Soweto also supported the march after the Action Committee emphasised good discipline and peaceful action. The number of people who died is usually given as 176, with estimates of up to 700. The original government figure claimed only 23 students were killed. 16 June is now a public holiday, Youth Day, in South Africa, in remembrance of the events of 1976
  3. 3. Causes of the protests Black high school 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 introduction. The regional Director of Bantu education J.G. Erasmus, told Circuit Inspectors and Principals of Schools that from 1 January 1975, Afrikaans had to be used for mathematics, arithmetic, and social studies from standard five, according to the Afrikaans Medium Decree. English would be the medium of instruction for general science and practical subjects. Indigenous languages would only be used for religion instruction, music, and physical culture
  4. 4. The association of Afrikaans with apartheid prompted black South Africans to prefer English. Even the homeland regimes chose English and an indigenous African language as official languages. English was gaining prominence as the language most often used in commerce and industry. Students sang and waved placards with slogans such as, "Down with Afrikaans” Some of the children started throwing stones as soon as they spotted the police patrol, while others continued to march peacefully. Colonel Kleingeld was a police officer who fired the first shot causing panic and chaos. Students started screaming and running and more gunshots were fired. The police loosed their dogs on the protesters, who responded by stoning the dogs to death. The police then began to shoot directly at the children
  5. 5. Emergency clinics were swamped with injured and bloody children. The police requested that the hospital provide a list of all victims with bullet wounds. The hospital administrator passed this request to the doctors, but the doctors refused to create the list. The 1,500 heavily armed police officers deployed to Soweto on 17 June carried weapons including automatic rifles, stun guns, and carbines. They drove around in armoured vehicles with helicopters monitoring the area from the sky. The south African army was also ordered on standby as a tactical measure to show military force.

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