The Soweto Uprising Of 1976

Despite the turmoil on the northern borders resulting from the collapse of the Portuguese empire in 1974 and the increased activities of Swapo on the northern border of South West Africa, the political system in South Africa seemed remarkably stable on the surface. Speaking in court a month before the Soweto uprising in June 1976, Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko was adamant about one thing: ‘The masses of black people within the country will increasingly become defiant.’ They faced a police force ill-equipped to deal with large demonstrations – something later remarked on by General Magnus Malan, a leading figure in the military establishment. The cabinet at the time did not even know that the police were at liberty to use live ammunition in suppressing protests.

The underlying causes

The uprising

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