June 16th: The Day of The African Child…..

I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to be a Black parent during the Apartheid.

I can’t imagine what I’d tell my kids every morning to make them want to go to school, or every evening to remind them to have hope. I can’t fathom the sheer strength it would take to look into their faces when they ask ‘Why?’ and lie; just so that they don’t have to deal with the brass knuckle truth of being victims of circumstance. Worse still is the blow that truth delivered; that by default they were destined to be lesser people in their own land.

Clearly parents tried to keep the peace and keep their children protected, but I suspect they didn’t lie to their kids. I suspect they told their children the truth, and told them that a change was coming. So they yearned that change. As Bobby Seale once said “You cannot silence injustice with anything but revolution.”

Soweto Uprising

That fateful morning, 45 years ago, the spirit of revolt was with the youth. 20,000 school kids – mere foundlings and soon to be young adults – said enough was enough and walked out of school. A new act had just been passed that forced them to be taught in Afrikaans. They demonstrated peacefully for their right to be taught in their own language or English. When police came to disperse the rightfully disgruntled Africans, they immediately resorted to opening fire.

A 15 year old Hastings Ndlovu was the first to die. Shortly thereafter, a 12 year old Hector Pieterson got shot and fell to the ground. Continue reading