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Commemoration, remembering and memorialising June 16 Soweto uprising

The June 16 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. Events that triggered the uprising can be traced back to policies of the Apartheid government that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953. The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of South African Students Organisation (SASO) raised the political consciousness of many students while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community. When the language of Afrikaans alongside English was made compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools in 1974, black students began mobilizing themselves. On 16 June 1976 between 3000 and 10 000 students mobilized by the South African Students Movement’s Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium.

 

 

25 May

On 25 May 1963, Africa made history with the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) the precursor to the African Union (AU).

Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its creation on May 25, 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.

The annual commemoration of Africa Day marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.

This year’s Africa Month is celebrated under the theme: “The year of Arts, Culture and Heritage: in the year of Charlotte Maxeke”.

 

Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial

Nelson Mandela departed from his prepared speech. Both the verbatim and prepared speeches are reproduced. The court proceedings at the Rivonia Trial were recorded by the State on dictabelt for which there is now no playback equipment. Mandela’s statement from the dock was digitised with the assistance of the British Library, and this digital recording is now in the custody of the National Archives of South Africa. This recording was used to transcribe this speech – the verbatim transript. The speech is approximately 176 minutes long.