6. The 1976 Soweto Uprising. “To Be or Not to Be . . . ?” Article by Nthanyane Maaga, SASM Newsletter, April 1973

6. The 1976 Soweto Uprising. "To Be or Not to Be . . . ?" Article by Nthanyane Maaga, SASMNewsletter, April 1973

That is the question whether 'tis nobler for our teachers and principals to despise and ridicule the Black gospel in order to appear as "good-boys" to Whitey: or to face the truth and do justice to their scholars; to conscientise, to spearhead the Black Consciousness philosophy, and lose their posts and be restricted to Sibasa.

Of course one of the biggest stumbling-blocks facing SASM at present is the uncooperativeness of school authorities. Some principals are uncooperative, it is a fact but none has said it openly. A man who wields tremendous power such as a principal tells you for once that he is a servant, and he therefore cannot accept Black Consciousness in an official capacity. Yet the ridicule is that he does "attack" Black Consciousness in an official capacity. S.A.S.M. may constitute of hot-heads, depending on one's definition of the noun, Black Consciousness may be a philosophy mainly supported by those who did not fully comprehend the "hard times of the Sixties." Yet we know what we are saying. We say it with all honesty. We idolize Black Consciousness. It is our only defence against a corrosive system. A system that corrodes one's spirit. It kills the pride that you are naturally born with. This system, yes, makes Non-Whites curse their mothers for giving birth to them. It makes Koolies cry, Boesmans weep, and Kaffirs lament. But thanks God, it makes Blacks all the more Blacker at heart; because without it, a Black man could not be existing so would a White man;

for we are Black because the White has made us aware of his abhorable Whiteness.

But the light of the nation, our teachers, have seldom if ever shown their support of this awakening. Perhaps it is because they have families to support or perhaps they would like to be principals and ultimately inspectors. If it be so, then the word "teacher" has lost meaning. A teacher is a teacher of morals, a teacher of religion and environment. Adaptation to your surroundings and that doesn't exclude politics. I think some of our teachers have been subjected, like some of our Non-White brothers, to much social bribery. Fat cheques. Because one earns a comfortable living does not make one an honorary White.

In fact, what is there to adore in whiteness; Pink skin? Oppressive hearts and regular nightmares about SWART GEVAAR [black danger]? Oh no, no, thanks, not for me. Some teachers act white in class. They teach students about etiquette--White etiquette of course, which involves accent of speech, the manner of walking, the manner of laughing--all reflecting Whiteness. But who can blame them? That has been their lesson from childhood--the superiority and infallibility of Whiteness.

Some Non-White "experts" on Black affairs say that things are changing slowly. This in fact implies that something is wrong with our rulers. The only snag is the time taken to right the wrongs. But if there be a wrong, why prolong it for another hour?

We have always cried about oppression by Whites. But looking at the attitude of some of our Black People--teachers and all; leads one to believe that there are also Black oppressors. Where do you stand? Waiting for a Messiah of Liberation? But the Miracle Age is past. We must reap the fruits of our efforts. If we are to attain liberation, we must work for it.

We have shown that to be or not to be is a question no more. We "MUST" be part of the struggle--or part of the oppressors. Over to you teachers!

SOLIDARITY! Nthaayane Maaga

• Karis, T.G & Gerhart, G. M (eds)(1997). From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary history of African politics in South Africa, 1882-1990, Volume 5: Nadir and Resurgence,1964-1979, Pretoria: Unisa.

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