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Soweto Riots - The effects of Black Consciousness

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HISTORY ESSAY 25TH AUGUST M.LOCKYER "Black consciousness was the primary influence that caused the youth of Soweto to rise up against oppression." Assess the accuracy of this explanation by examining the context of the 1976 student protest. The Soweto riots of June 16th 1976 were a number of clashes between black youths and the South African Authorities. On the morning of June 16, 1976, thousands of black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium for a rally to protest against having to learn Afrikaans in school. The protest was intended to be peacefull. The influence of Black consciousness in the reasons behind the Soweto riots has been exaggerated. There were other more sinister reasons behind the soweto riots of 1976. ...read more.


The reason Afrikaans was forced on the black youth was to impose some Afrikaans culture into black peoples lives. However, black school children did not want to learn or speak the language of their oppressors. It was a difficult tongue to understand and to grasp. Afrikaans was not their home language and many of the teachers did not understand Afrikaans and could not teach using it. The Situation was hopeless and a revolt was bound to occur. The Bantu Education Act and the Afrikaans language frustrated and angered the Black youth and this is the primary reason behind the Soweto riots. The Black Consciousness movement was a philosophy to bring out pride and confidence in the black population. ...read more.


Soweto youth leaders made contact with some ANC leaders. The ANC underground distributed pamphlets which brought the black people together and encouraged resistance. Another cause of the Soweto uprising was the rise of worker militancy. South Africans had learned what could be achieved by mass action and confrontations from the 1973 strikes. Some sort of Riot or revolt was to be expected when the new education system of January 1975 was enforced. Afrikaans was considered the language of the oppressors and it was a language spoken by a tiny portion of the population. The black consciousness movement had an involvement in planning the protest but it was not the primary influence. The Soweto riots was very successful because it got International involvement and it brought about the eventual abolishment of the Apartheid system. ...read more.

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