My father sent me this, and because I do occasionally take requests - Tomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of the Soweto Riots in South Africa:
Black students in Soweto protested against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 which forced all black students to learn the Afrikaans language and to be taught secondary school mathematics, social sciences, geography and history in the language.I love that the education minister's name was "Punt". Sounds like an invitation, to me. Especially considering the results:
Punt Janson, the Deputy Minister of Bantu Education at the time, was quoted as saying: "I have not consulted the African people on the language issue and I'm not going to. An African might find that 'the big boss' only spoke Afrikaans or only spoke English. It would be to his advantage to know both languages."'
The decree was resented deeply by blacks as Afrikaans was widely viewed, in the words of Desmond Tutu, then Dean of Johannesburg as "the language of the oppressor". The resentment grew until April 30, 1976, when children at Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike, refusing to go to school. Their rebellion then spread to many other schools in Soweto. The students organised a mass rally for June 16, 1976 to hopefully make themselves heard by the Bantu Education System.
The police threw canisters of tear gas to disperse the students, who then began throwing stones in retaliation. The gas forced the crowd to draw back a little, but they continued singing and waving placards with slogans including: "Down with Afrikaans", "Viva Azania" and "If we must do Afrikaans, Vorster must do Zulu". A white male police officer drew his handgun and fired a shot, causing panic and chaos. Students started screaming and running and more gunshots were fired. At least 4 children were shot, the first being Hastings Ndlovu followed by 13 year-old Hector Pieterson. The photograph taken of his body became a symbol of police brutality.It blows my mind that this was tolerated until nineteen-ninety-fucking-four. On the other hand, I suppose I should remember that Chinese Communism is alive and well, and bears many of the same indignities. And a higher body count.