16 June 1976 In Pictures

June 16, 2011 by  

As we celebrate Youth Day, here are a few pics and commentary from SA History to remind us what 16 June 1976 was all about.

It started as a peaceful protest march by youths against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in Black Schools in Soweto, and escalated into a nation-wide revolt, irreversibly revitalizing the struggle for liberation in South Africa.

The Day Our Kids Lost Faith – Marching kids, in a mood common to school kids the world over happy that they were not in class, good naturedly protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at their schools. They march from Naledi Township, at the south western end of Soweto, collecting others on their route to Orlando East, the north eastern end of the vast complex. If the police had not tried to wrest the posters from the children, if they had not tried to arrest any of them, if they had not tried to set dogs on to them, if they had not fired shots, June 16 would not have been as black a day as it turned out to be. (Bailey’s African History Archives)

(Sam Nzima / South Photographs)

Marching kids  (Bailey’s African History Archives)

(Sam Nzima / South Photographs)

Soweto uprisings, June 16. Police take aim.(Sam Nzima / South Photographs)

June 16 – Pandemonium as police bullets threaten lives (Bongani Mnguni)

Tsietsi Mashinini – Leader of the June 16 1976 Soweto Uprising.

He led the march that escalated and rocked the whole coutry. They marched from Naledi township, at the south western end of Soweto, collecting others from other schools on their route to Orlando East, the north eastern part of the vast complex. Their mission was to put their heads together and find out how best to get out of the Afrikaans dilemma. Before they could get to Orlando East they found out that they could not get the right of way. Cops helicopters, vans, formidable looking hippos of the terrorist Squad formed a road block down the valley. The children formed their own road block near Uncle Tom’s Hall and near Orlando West Junior Secondary. Some were patched over hills. It looked ominous. (Bailey’s African History Archives)

June 16 – Militant Soweto residents (Bongani Mnguni)

June 16 – Photographer Alf Kumalo in the midst of the chaos after the shootings (Bongani Mnguni)

June 16 – People running from teargas (Bongani Mnguni)

June 16 – Chaos spread throughout Soweto and the country (Bongani Mnguni)

Marching kids (Bailey’s African History Archives)

Marching kids,  (Bailey’s African History Archives)

Protesting against Afrikaans & Bantu Education. (Bailey’s African History Archives)

The affair at Park Station, Thursday March 11, 1976 – During the trial on terrorism of Miss Pumza Dyanty and six others in the Johannesburg supreme court, a scuffle broke out between the crowd and police. (Bailey’s African History Archives)

Soweto June 1976. Mbuyisa Makhubu carries the body of Hector Pieterson, shot by police during the student protest against Afrikaans as the school language medium. (Sam Nzima / South Photographs)

Soweto June 1976. Mbuyisa Makhubu carries the body of Hector Pieterson, shot by police during the student protest against Afrikaans as the school language medium. (Photograph by Sam Nzima)

Happy Youth Day. Hope it means something to you.


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19 Comments on "16 June 1976 In Pictures"

  1. mad33m3 on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 9:58 am 

    The pictures compliment the article very well. What a touching article

  2. Madoncan on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 11:25 am 

    It is very sad to c where we come from as blacks.When Julius Malema sings dubul’ibhunu ppl think he’s so racial,I think Afrikaaners are too racial n they dnt cough it out lyj bt they very gud in doing it practically.Go to my home city the city of Apartheid(Tshwane)n wl find that it’s stil so 1976.

  3. Madoncan on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 11:33 am 

    cough it out lyk him

  4. QashQai on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 11:34 am 

    They worked for this S.A mna ndandingekazalwa ngalanyaka.The leaders of today are totally opposite to these leaders V?VA JUNE 16 youth of 76.

    Izoba phi ibraai or i rally for B.E.Es invite plz thirsty for single malt l0l..

  5. zeepo_B on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 11:35 am 

    It really is sad seeing all these pictures, we trully have come a long way. I might not have been there when all this happened but these People fought for the freedom that we enjoy today. I salute them for standing up for what they believed in and in turn paying the price with their own lives. I really appreciate what they did and I’m grateful. Happy Youth Day y’all.

  6. FunkyFK on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 11:39 am 

    Wow – JustCurious *Standingovation*

    This is too beautiful to be kept just here. It has to be shared with the world

    Those on twitter – RT the link http://www.justcurious.co.za/2011/06/16-june-1976-in-pictures/

    Those with BBs – post the link on your BBM status

    On FB, do the same
    Skype, Whatsapp, ndibala ntoni na


  7. Zeal on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 12:05 pm 

    I really needed inspiration yazi, need to do a motivational talk to the first group of matriculants at Soshanguve South Secondary school!! This couldnt have come at a better time!! Ta!!

  8. mbulela on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 12:35 pm 

    may these sacrificies never be in vain.
    Inspite of the best effort of our present leaders to spit on this sacrificies.

  9. MissAN on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 12:45 pm 

    I don’t care much about about Malema’s and FF struggle song court visit.

    I am just,just sad and appalled by how black youth esp in High School seem to disregard the priviledge that is education.

    I am sad that some black teachers and their UNIONs are putting their financial needs ahead of a young mind and using work time for their own personal errands.

    I am angry at the educatiön system that is failing kids with OBE that was rejected and scraped in other countries.

    I am angry at the goverment who time and time again fail to meet the needs of educators who go beyond being teachers but parents,social workers,nurses and financial assistance.

    I am angry that communities steal doors,windows,etc from school. I am angry at communities and schools that do not look after their schools but wait on the gov to mow the lawn,paint or general upkeep of the school.

    I am angry at parents that would rather buy the latest clothes for their kids than school clothes,stationery,etc. Parents that don’t attend PTAs,Prize Givings or school related functions.

    Our answers to education lie up North. I am amazed how fellow African classmates seem to know work at 2nd or 3rd year level and it was done in High School! How the eager to learn. How despite little resources they push for educatiön.

    Personally 1976 was in vain,except doing Afrikaans as a 2nd language or not at all.

    I salute teachers that teach,scholars that learn,school that encourage learning,state employees in educatiön that realise the importance of their job and parents that encourage education and literacy.

  10. lwandie on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 1:10 pm 

    Great article. Those pictures are a sobering reminder that the privileges we enjoy now were paid for in blood.

    We are far from there but have definitely come a long way.

    @MissAN well said there are still a lot of things to be angry about in our education system especially for that unfortunate child to whom private education is not an option.

    Youth day for me serves as a reminder that there are new battles still to be fought if hope to have an even half decent future generation.

  11. mbulela on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 1:36 pm 

    MissAN, i guess he had you in mind when he said this.
    Echoes your sentiments;
    Whereas the youth of 1976 fought against inferior education as part of the struggle for freedom, today’s youth should confront illiteracy and lack of skills as part of the struggle for development.

    Whereas the youth of 1976 used stones and barricades against repressive forces, today’s youth should use education and skills to fight poverty and unemployment. Whereas the youth of 1976 used their energies to mobilise and campaign against apartheid, the youth of 2011 should use their talents to mobilise and campaign against crime and against drugs.

    Whereas the youth of 1976 went into exile to train as soldiers of liberation, the youth of today should go to school, college and university to acquire skills that they would use for their advancement and the development of our country and continent.

    By former President T Mbeki… Aluta continua!!!

  12. Lehakoe on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 1:41 pm 

    *likes* MissAN’s comment. Thank you for putting this up BS. I seriously don’t think SA youth understand the enormity and the impact that all of the struggle had on our present. It’s a pity that today is a booze-fest to most. Listening to Metro in the wee hours, someone sent an email to Paul urging people to remember that June 16 and December 16 are two very different dates. Couldn’t agree more, no one’s asking you to go to a rally- Lawd knows I can’t stand Gedleyhlekisa’s winded speeches but take the time to remember and appreciate. Oh well…we all have the right to celebrate our democracy as we see fit.

    The struggle continues though because almost everyday we see how ‘the former oppressed are becoming the oppressor’ in the mismanagement of governance, their bid to mum the media with the secrecy bill and rampant corruption. I just hope and pray that none of our past has been in vain and that we don’t turn into another failed African state run by power hungry kleptocrats.

  13. snapshot on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 6:10 pm 

    I think in since I was born,today was the first day I really got to understand & appreciate June 16 1976. I’ve watched Sarafina n other movies about june 16 but today was something else. Maybe its becos I’m now a bit older I don’t know but wish that the youth of 2011 can stand up & grap opportunities that are presented to them

  14. MissAN on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 6:33 pm 

    @ Mbulela et al hence I get angry when the ANCYL is so caught up in land reforms,mining rights and struggle songs,not that these issues need not be addressed but they not important right now.

    The reason the ANCYL yabo O.R. and Mandela was successful was because they understood the importance of education.

    Education shouldn’t be about going to varsity but having knowledge to be successful in the world.

    ‘The most dangerous black man,is an educated black man’ Steve Biko

    Us that are not Twitter addicts Lol @ Juju chewing on a straw like a gangster and Mbalula chewing gum!

  15. Madoncan on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 6:45 pm 

    @MissAN,well said n straight to the point.

  16. Mmaditaba on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 7:12 pm 

    MissAN i could just kiss you right now. You took the words right ouda my my mind #Salute

  17. MissAN on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 7:25 pm 

    Guys,you don’t understand. My parents are old school teachers and did took their job seriously but still paid peanuts,have to teach kids with no shoes,are complaining about OBE.

    Forget BEE,education and entrepeneurship are the answers to SA’s problem.

  18. Silvio on Fri, 17th Jun 2011 8:37 am 

    kwenziwani manje people are drinking this day like there is no tomorrow.

  19. Pappy on Fri, 17th Jun 2011 10:32 am 

    these are the types of days that make me wanna hop on Juju’s back and help him shoot the boers.

    How I wish as the today’s youth we can hold hands together just like ’76 Youth to resolve our own agonies. So many issues we have and so much power we have at the same time. *sad*

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