Benaouda Lebdai - June 16 1976, Soweto or the history of a revolt - The Point

The struggle of black South africans against apartheid has always been active in the political landscape of South Africa. With the creation of the ANC, the afri

Benaouda Lebdai - June 16 1976, Soweto or the history of a revolt - The Point

The struggle of black South africans against apartheid has always been active in the political landscape of South Africa. With the creation of the ANC, the african national Congress which was founded in 1912, the fighting was organized under the aegis of an ideology, that of equality and sharing of wealth. Blacks have always fought against racial discrimination, a struggle supported by Nelson Mandela. In 1952 more than 8000 Blacks were arrested and tortured to dismantle the ANC. A few years later, in a spirit of democratic struggle, a charter was drafted in 1955 exactly. This charter inscriva equality for all and stated that South Africa belonged to all who lived there, White and Black. This text indicated that a democratic government should emanate from the people, that the mineral wealth of the sub-soil, the banks, the industries, should belong to the people. The ANC also demanded that the allocation of land was no longer to be made on the basis of the color of the skin. Such a political program was never heard by the Afrikaners, and by the reaction even more violent and more discriminatory of Pretoria, the motion of the CNA is past of the non-violent struggle of violence to defend the rights of Black people, violence on the property.

Read also Soweto : que reste-t-il of the revolt of the students of June 1976 ?


Nelson Mandela was in this fight, and he was arrested in 1964, following his actions and his speeches virulent against apartheid. He was brought to justice for high treason, and for his defence he said : "We members of the ANC have always fought for a non-racial democracy, and refuse any policy that separated the races. But the reality of the facts shows that, after fifty years of non-violence, Blacks are at the same point, rather more racist laws and law enforcement and less rights. In this case, it would be non-realistic and non-productive to continue to preach non-violence when the Government responds with violence to our requests peaceful ". It is in this context of social, political and ideological, the Umkhonto We Sizwe (The Iron of the Nation) is born to fight more firmly against apartheid. This commitment has led Nelson Mandela to spend twenty-seven years in prison on Robben Island, off Cape Town.

...The Movement of black Consciousness

later, a young man named Steve Biko, 22-year-old created The Organization of African Students, the SASO to continue the fight, calling on all those who suffered from apartheid to unite and fight. It has instilled the idea that we should be proud to be black - which earned him the nickname of father of the Movement of black Consciousness - and that it needed to rejuvenate its culture and its own systems of value. From 1973, demonstrations were held to protest against the high cost of living and salaries are too low. But this is 1976, which would make its mark in South Africa and in the world. In fact, protests took place in Soweto with students who rebelled against the teaching of the language Afrikaans, the language of the Boers, against the teaching of all subjects by language Afrikaans. This led to occupations, subordinates, always at the service of the Whites. These students of Soweto knew that the English could give them the possibility of opening, could open more opportunities, such as further academic studies. The decision was made they didn't want this language of enslavement. The revolt of the students on 16 June 1976 in Soweto ended in carnage : 494 Black students, 75 Métis and one Indian were killed senselessly by the police in Pretoria. The shock was so tragic in Soweto, which consolidated the influence of Winnie Mandela and to the ANC in all the Townships of the country. The revolts ceased not, and the protesters bore still the colors of the ANC, such as in 1985, with the large strikes which have succeeded each other like the bus boycott, the schools, and the revolts of the women with their head Winnie Mandela, who organized the fight against the 'laissez-passer'.

also Read South Africa : forty years ago disappeared, Steve Biko

A massacre that is going to shock the universal conscience

The situation was becoming increasingly difficult for the Government of Pretoria to the point that the First Minister Botha introduced a State of emergency in 1986, in order to restore order in the Townships. The repression, once again, was fierce, the bans were decreed, such as that of Winnie Mandela, who was transferred with her daughter to Banford. Assassinations of activists in Black took place. The South Africa of the Afrikaners was in a situation of war, for the survival of the latter. The restrictions were introduced, the censorship was applied to all levels, including in the literary production. The novels of Nadine Gordimer were banned. In 1988, the situation became tragic for the Blacks and Indians in South Africa. The Government of Pretoria did not want to hear about a revision of the law, apartheid, and in 1989 the political situation was completely blocked. For international opinion, the time for negotiations had come. The Soweto uprising of 16 June 1976 was without doubt a decisive turning point for an entire generation of South africans who no longer wanted to live as sub-human.

also Read South Africa : Soweto, the impossible forgiveness

* university Professor of african literature colonial and postcolonial.

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Date Of Update: 16 June 2020, 17:33