Arab Today, arab today south africans unite to remember soweto uprising
Last Updated : GMT 07:29:00
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

To commemorate the 40th anniversary

South Africans unite to remember Soweto uprising

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today South Africans unite to remember Soweto uprising

South Africa's Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana (C)
Soweto - Arab Today

Hundreds of South Africans, including for the first time white apartheid era conscripts, on Saturday united to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising.

"They tried to march, they were stopped, they were killed, (but) today, the police are here to help us march," said cleric and ANC stalwart Frank Chikane as two policemen on horseback -- one black, one white -- escorted a procession of people into the stadium.

The uprising, in which at least 170 people were killed, was a turning point in the anti-apartheid struggle, bringing the injustices of the regime to the world's attention and paving the way for the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa's first black president.

"1976 - I was there as a student...," read one handwritten placard held up by a black woman in the crowd, as a group of Johannesburg municipal workers dressed in yellow work clothes sang and swayed in unison. 

Apartheid era army personnel belonging to the South African Defence Force Association, also attended, dressed in blazers and ties decorated with the organisation's insignia.

"We are sad about what happened 40 years ago, we are sorry if people are still hurt. But... it is time we start with a new era," said association chairman Jan Malan.

"We can be apologising for 100 years, it is not going to change things. Let's take the symbolism of 40 years and let's start creating the South Africa we want," he said.

- Killed for a fist clench -
At least 400 people -- almost evenly divided between blacks and whites -- gathered at Orlando Stadium in Soweto township for the ceremony ahead of the main government-led commemorations due to be to attended by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

The former white conscripts, who were not deployed to Soweto in 1976, attended the commemoration for the first time. Former police officers who did take part in the crackdown however declined to be part of the ceremony.

On June 16, 1976, security forces opened fire on black youngsters protesting in Soweto township against a government order that schools could only teach in the Afrikaans language used by whites.

Over the following three days, scores of people were killed, with some estimates putting the death toll at several hundred over one month.

Survivor Trofomo Sono, 59, said the students were taken aback by the security forces' response.  
"We did not expect that somebody could just die from marching and a fist clench. But it happened, a boy died, children started running," he said.

Joy Rabotabi, 56, a former student and black South African businessman, said it was "unfortunate" the police who took part in putting down the 1976 protests boycotted the event.

"It is not contributing positively towards nation-building and reconciliation. We need to find a way to bring closure," he told AFP.

But he lauded the presence of the former soldiers at the event as positive. "Any step towards reconciliation and healing needs to be welcomed," he said.

- Old wounds remain -
Earlier a small group of around 100 ex-students, former conscripts, clerics and Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau marched from Madibane High School in the township to Orlando Stadium. 

At the school a plaque was unveiled in memory of Abiel Lebelo, a student leader who was shot dead by the police during the protests.

"We are completing the journey the students could not complete," said the Reverend Frank Chikane.

In 1976, the students carried placards that read "Afrikaans stinks" and "To hell with Afrikaans" but on Saturday survivors waved placards reading "Unity in diversity" and "Let's all stand together as one".

Some relatives of victims of the uprising, however, stayed away from the event, a sign of still unhealed wounds amid frustration at post-apartheid South Africa's failure to meet expectations of many black people.

Divisions along racial lines still linger in South Africa, with most black people enduring worse education, housing and unemployment than white people.

Source: AFP

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today south africans unite to remember soweto uprising Arab Today, arab today south africans unite to remember soweto uprising

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'

GMT 11:59 2017 Friday ,24 March

Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'
Arab Today, arab today 5 Crafty Must-Have Limited-Budget Ideas

GMT 17:03 2017 Saturday ,25 March

5 Crafty Must-Have Limited-Budget Ideas
Arab Today, arab today Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes

GMT 08:35 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes
Arab Today, arab today Former head of Egypt’s syndicate submits appeal

GMT 20:11 2017 Saturday ,25 March

Former head of Egypt’s syndicate submits appeal
View News in Arabic - Culture: أخبار ثقافة
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Yemen children dream of school

GMT 07:25 2017 Friday ,24 March

Yemen children dream of school
Arab Today, arab today MP submits a petition to dismiss university head

GMT 06:21 2017 Friday ,24 March

MP submits a petition to dismiss university head
Arab Today, arab today Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry

GMT 04:51 2017 Friday ,24 March

Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful

GMT 13:38 2017 Monday ,06 March

Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful
Arab Today, arab today Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design

GMT 13:22 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design
Arab Today, arab today Renault Trezor wins design award

GMT 11:56 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Renault Trezor wins design award
Arab Today, arab today Actress Mervat Amin reveals her role in new series
Arab Today, arab today 2017 already marked

GMT 15:25 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

2017 already marked

GMT 06:04 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Haifa Wahby bets on her new drama show

GMT 22:00 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Number of unwedded girls amounts to 2.5m

GMT 18:57 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Accessories designer reveals her new collection

GMT 10:34 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Mexico threatens to ditch US corn imports

GMT 13:26 2017 Friday ,24 February

Expresses Algerian history by woody figures

GMT 15:06 2017 Saturday ,25 March

Dialysis Supplies Dwindle for Syrians

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 March

US, Britain ban laptops on flights

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 19:27 2017 Saturday ,11 March

Boualsof launches "Priestess Kahina" collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday