Soweto Riots in South Africa. This explains how Apartheid was
responsible for starting the Rioting and how even after they tried to
stop the Riots they were unsuccessful.
The Soweto riots of 1976 were the most brutal and violent riots that
had taken place against the South African apartheid administration. It
was also amazing in how far and how fast it spread. Its significance
would go beyond the violence on the streets. The police actions during
the riots would be part of what instigated a worldwide boycott of
South African produce and signalled the increased militancy of the
black population of South Africa.
During a reorganisation of the Bantu Education Department of the
government, the South African apartheid government decided to start
enforcing a long-forgotten law requiring that secondary education be
conducted only in Afrikaans, rather than in English or any of the
native African languages. This was bitterly resented by both teachers
and students. Many teachers themselves did not speak Afrikaans (an
extremely difficult language to learn) and so could not teach the
students. The students resented being forced to learn the language of
their oppressors and saw it as a direct attempt to cut them off from
their original culture.
By 1976, several teachers were ignoring the directive and were fired,
prompting staff resignations. Tensions grew. Students refused to write
papers in Afrikaans and were expelled. The students of one school
after another went on strike. The government response was to simply
shut the down schools and expel the striking students.
A protest march was organi...
... middle of paper ...
69 blacks were killed, including women and children. More than 180
people were injured.
The uproar among South African blacks was immediate, and the following
week saw demonstrations, protest marches, strikes, and riots around
the country. On March 30, 1960, the government declared a state of
emergency, detaining more than 18,000 people. The ANC and the PAC were
banned and forced to go underground or into exile. Thereafter, both
movements abandoned the traditional strategy of non-violent protest
and turned increasingly to armed struggle. A storm of international
protest followed the Sharpeville shootings, including condemnation by
the United Nations. Sharpeville marked a turning point in South
Africa's history; the country found itself increasingly isolated in
the international community for the next 30 years.
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