south africa, the host country of the fifa 2010 world cup soccer tournament, observed the 34th anniversary of the june 16, 1976 soweto uprising. historically recognized as the catalyst to the anti-apartheid movement, thousands of students from the black township of soweto gathered to embody self-dertermination & march in protest at being forced to go to school in afrikaans, the language of the white supremacist minority regime.
police opened fire on the unarmed students, killing hundreds, including a 13 year-old teenager. hector pieterson was the first - in the spirit of crispus attacks - to die in the violence. photographs of a demonstrator carrying away the boy's limp body caused international outrage & stoked resistance to legalized apartheid & socialized racism.
the anniversary is now commemorated as youth day, coinciding this year with south africa's match against uruguay, its 2nd game in a world cup. how far has the country come since the end of apartheid in '94? said national football team captain aaron mokoena, "we all know what the day means for south africans & especially for the youth...it would be very special to win the game on the day...it is a day we all remember."
the soweto of 2010 is a far cry from the impoverished slums which the students marched through in 1976. the township originally established to house white johannesburg's black labour force. today landscape parks, a massive shopping mall, a newly renovated golf course & sports-paved streets are recognizable traits of a modern city.
soccer city stadium sits at the township's edge. and orlando stadium, the students' destination in the 1976 march, hosted a star-studded world cup kick-off concert last week featuring the black eyed peas, john legend & shakira. south africa is the venue for the world cup's opening & closing matches. long live the students of soweto!
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.