Sunday, 20 July 2014

Youth Day in Soweto - 16 June

If you have seen the movie Sarafina, then you have a good idea of what the Soweto Uprising was all about. If you have not, a synopsis is that on June 16, 1976, a number of students from Sowetan schools began to protest in the streets of Soweto in response to the introduction of Afrikaans (language of the minority ruling elite at the time) as the language of instruction in local schools. An estimated 20,000 students took part in the protests. The number of people who died is usually given as 176, with estimates of up to 700. 16 June is now a public holiday, Youth Day, in South Africa, in remembrance of the events of 1976.

Going to Soweto to join in the commemoration was as if I was part of history, albeit many years ago.  It was the sort of experience that gave chills up the spine.  To see the number of persons who turned out to retrace the route was simply amazing - thousands came out!

Persons participating in June 16 march in Orlando West, Soweto.
Persons participating in June 16 march in Orlando West, Soweto.

Section of the crowd.

The routes the students took in protest.

The five photos below chronicle the timeline of the march.

Diplomats and ANC reps posing for a photo op.

16 June 1976 changed the lives of ordinary black South Africans.  It is a day we must never forget.

Two Sowetan girls play on the rails of the Memorial Square Mile (dedicated to the memories of those who died in the uprising) as John soaks in the words of the photo.

You can read more about the Soweto Student Uprising here.

Monday, 17 February 2014

CELEBRATING BOB MARLEY - Rastas in Pietermaritzburg and Durban

I confess that as we departed Pretoria for Kwa Zulu Natal on Saturday, 8 February, I had no idea what awaited us. 

It was a very lovely drive down, albeit some 5 hours away.  The mountains were majestic and the place lush and green.  Finding the venue was a little difficult though - it was the Plessislaer Campus of the Umgungundlovu FET College in the belly of Pietermaritzburg.

On arrival we were warmly greeted by some Rasta brethrens who had organised a tribute football match in honour of the great reggae legend.

Her Excellency, Mrs Norma Taylor Roberts, Jamaican High Commissioner to South Africa pose with members of the community.  This photo was taken by Don Leffer, pictured below with the two Rastafarians.

Don bonding with two Rastafarians

Burning Spear (green and white) vs Rasta Love

This speaks for itself

Wilhemina Hewitt (Jamaican living in Pietermaritburg) High Commissioner, Rev Hewitt, Sistah expressing thanks for support and John Clarke (my husband)


Patrons enjoying the match

After we left Pietermaritzburg, we met up with a Jamaican sistah in Durban, Yaa Ashantewaa Archer-Ngidi who took us to the waterfront where they had a Bob Marley celebration.  It was awesome.
The patrons in Durban. This photo doesn't do the place justice