June 16 1976 was a Wednesday when Soweto became a warzone
Lives lost by the thousands, founded in Soweto 1976, 41 years later, I remember it like yesterday, the forgotten martyrs carved into Azania’s psyche.The forgotten Blood ritual, youth sacrifices on the altar of riot gear police barricades
In Honour of All the Black bodies crushed in the Resistance, the rejection of linguistic subjection by the racist settler-neo-colonialist “Regering van die Nationale Party”.We are still here so remember, a public holiday for who? For what? And when? And why?
Afrikaner domination Separate development Apartheid oppression.Twelve year old Hector Pieterson was a good boy, Died for a front page, Global headlines of anti-apartheid sentiments. Iconic the image of Mbuyisa Makhuba carrying his li’l lifeless body.
“20 000 Leerders Teen Afrikaans” Boycott en-masse.With placards shouting Slogans: “If we must do Afrikaans, Voster must do Zulu” “Viva Azania”. We are meeting at Orlando West secondary to sing in solidarity “Nkosi Sikelel’ iafrica” without “Die stem”, in School Uniforms we gave life to the Revolution. Blacked by consciousness the student representative council, not even our politicophobic parents knew of Our Day, June 16 1976, our day, Soweto rises in righteous rebellion because of Afrikaans.
But on route, brutality ensued in pursuit of Freedom, Fighting, Firing forced on us by the Special branch Ammunition, Stones, Teargas, Bullets, Batons, and Police Dogs showered with bricks, Death scents in the air. Fear disappeared after our peaceful protest was met with live bullets.Township blood boils into an ungovernable landscape, a collective psychological metamorphosis.Johannesburg to Cape Town, haemoglobin spills. Hospitals could not handle the multitude of gaping wounds.
This is the day on which we forced the Nation into action, Border to border, ceaseless cross-country revolt in Solidarity with the Soweto Massacre of June 16.
The Crowd did not disperse, Day 1 death toll is 23, After the first four days 176 Blacks mowed down in Soweto and Thousands by the end of 1976, every township had its quota.Verwoerd said teach Natives equality with European is not for them, and in educating South Africa’s youth spend annually R644 per white and R42 per black, as in 1975.”Ons will nie die onderdrukker se Taal praat nie” “Fok weg met Afrikaans fokken Voster, Fokken Kruger”: We are defying your Bantu education act of 1953, Language of the oppressor is not up for only means of instruction.Icons of resistance, Because of the likes of Tsietsi Mashinini, Seth Mazibuko, Khotso Seathola.Apologies for the unwritten names of pivotal leaders: sold-out tagless bodies in unmarked graves, security squad suicide in holding cells whose blood revitalised the liberation struggle: Mapetla Mohapi, Dumisani Mbatha, Jackie Mashabane, Dimakatso Phakathi and those thrown into holes in the cloak of night.
Terrorism act, internal security act, Detention without trial.Meanwhile schools stay empty.
Clenched-fist black power salutes parade CBD streets from Gauteng to Western province.
Soweto sparks nation-wide sporadic scrimmages: New Bridghton, Bontheheuwel, Mdantsane, Nyanga, Tembisa, Athlone, Soweto has the Cape Peninsula up in Arms.”Kruger we want to see you” written on the concrete while Colonel Visser searches for black consciousness affiliates.Leaflets printed with: “Your children decided to shed their blood” “you’re inviting Vorster to slaughter us’ “Parent-worker heed the call stay away from work”. In August 1976 municipal busses go up in flames, Asizukhwela! -We-Won’t-Ride! The students are asking their parents, the work-force of Soweto to stay-away, leading up to the general strike on 24, 25, 26 August drawing international sanctions.Battlefield, Slagveld, between students and police, parents caught selling-out the aspirations of the youth. Mortuaries reach full capacity, bodies shot in the back pile at Police stations. The children were hopeless without cowardice: A 8 year old in prison at Orlando, a 15 year old in exile to Tanzania.
The ninth month requires another 3-day general Strike: By September the Youth said: municipal Beerhalls and bottle stores are the white campaign of pacifications, close down, By force shebeens closed, The docile nature of alcohol drinkers irritated the youth, taverns go up in smoke, liquor the opium keeping us in bondage. The circular read “We are warning the people in advance that this should be the last week of Boozing”. For November the samizdat wrote “No Christmas parties – blacks are going into mourning for the dead of this Township”.Our parents are prepared to suffer but we the youth refuse to be slaves in land of our birth right.
“Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, policemen and sell-outs, I greet you in the name of Africa” orated by Tsietsi at our funeral.The Significance of June 16 remains Blood baths filled with sacrifices of youth, not your depoliticised censoring ceremonies of “Young people must have fun and celebrate empty results.” We cannot forget the past to feel hollows of good by broken freedom disguising a failed democracy, No. These institutions that still dominate and exploit us.
Underground movement recruits, selfless souls risking lives for our future, we give thanks.
Now we are the June 16 Detachment in the Spirit of Solomon Mahlangu the Soul of Silverton trinity.Out to destroy symbols of subjection, of the system of Apartheid. Let us work to destabilize the State, bring the government to its knees. Social stability non-existent henceforth.We are being born still with Molotovs for mouths.Still letter-bombing for total emancipation. Conspicuous capital our post-independence economic apartheid cordon santaire Haunted by the restless spirits of June 16 1976
Remember Soweto when it is Marikana
Lest we forget the radicals
The youth’s responsibility in revolution
Long live the cause of equal rights and freedom
God bless the principle of justice and truth
Not yet uhuru