Guest post / Poetry

Our Revolutionary Heroes by Irene Richmond

On this day in 1976 South African students in Soweto rose up in what began as a peaceful protest until police opened fire on them. They were protesting Afrikaans (then the language of the oppressor) as a medium of instruction and in general ‘Bantu education’ specifically designed for black South Africans so that “Natives must be taught from an early age that equality with Europeans [whites] is not for them.” according to Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, then the minister of native affairs and later prime minister. Many of you will remember the iconic photograph of Hector Pieterson, the dying 13-year-old boy whose body was carried by an older student Mbuyisa Makhubo alongside his sister as they fled the violence that day. Mbuyisa Makhubo fled South Africa as he was being harassed by the police once the image was released worldwide. His mother received a letter from him once from Nigeria but he was never heard from again. However, a man imprisoned in Canada on immigration charges believed to be Mbuyisa Makhubo is now the subject of a complex case trying to prove his identity. The Soweto Uprising or June 16 is now officially known as Youth Day a public holiday in South Africa.
This poem by my mother is a tribute to the memory of the young people who died that day, Our Revolutionary Heroes. To read the poem, click on jpg below

Sleep well our revolutionary heroes-page0001

lalibela sunset


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