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BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Vorster and his assassins have learnt nothing since Sharpeville. Once again he has called out his murderers to shoot down in cold blood innocent people in the name of preserving...
"Memorandum to the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development and Bantu Education by Soweto Black Community Leaders," written by M. T. Moerane, June 29, 1976 (abridged) .... In actual fact...
"Communique" by SASO, July 1969 For the first time after 1959, Non-White student leaders met at Stutterheim in July 1968. A need for contact, especially among the University Colleges, was...
TOMORROW we will commemorate June 16 1976 - the day that saw the start of the Soweto uprising. For almost three decades now, on this day we have remembered the struggle that shaped the generation "1...
Chaos in the African Schools. The reorganisation of the African schools in the wake of the changes governing secondary school entrance led to conditions bordering on chaos. The first step was...
In the first eight weeks of the Revolt in Soweto, there were two periods of intense confrontation with the police. The first extended over the initial three days, from June 16 to 19, and the second...
Throughout the 1960's black students campaigned for the right to affiliate to the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and just as steadfastly, the move was vetoed by the campus...
On 3 June the UBC had collapsed and the students announced that they were planning to commemorate the dead during the week 13 to 19 June. During that period shebeens were to be closed. On the 16th...
Presumably, not all students of the earlier generation 'worshipped the school authorities'! The first, recorded stoppages of lessons, (always called strikes in the South African newspapers), and the...
Twenty-five years ago, on 19 April 1980, high school and tertiary students in the African, Coloured and Indian areas of the Western Cape embarked on a class boycott. This became a precursor to a...
Reaction Takes the Offensive After the first attempted march on Johannesburg on 4 August, and the partial stay-at-home which kept at least 60 per cent of the labour force away from work, the SSRC...
Our experiences of exile and armed struggle, however painful, were a source of strength and inspiration during hard times. This story is about the life and activities that took place in the Umkhonto...
Press release by Khotso Seatlholo, chairman of the Soweto Students' Representative Council, October 29,1976 There are a few points which, on behalf of the Black youth and students of South Africa,...
On a winter's day in 1976 more than 20 000 pupils from the African township complex of Soweto began a protest march against a Bantu Education Department regulation that Afrikaans be used as one of...
"To All Residents of Soweto, Hostels, Reef and Pretoria." Flyer in English and Zulu by Soweto Students' Representative Council, September 7, 1976 WE SAY: 1. REMEMBER YOU ARE ALL BLACKS: Whether...
"To Town!!! To Eloff!!! To That Exclusive White Paradise!!! From Monday!!!" Flyer by Soweto Students' Representative Council announcing demonstration on September 23,1976 This will be the new step...
"The System and You." Article in SASO Newsletter, March/April 1976 Because of the rampant increase in the number of students and other concerned individuals being arrested or being taken in for...
"Report of Fort Hare Local Committee to SASO annual General Students' Council, by Pumzile Majeke, July 1973 1. STUDENT ENROLMENT: The number of students enrolled at Fort Hare this year stands at...
Some of the old timers believe that Chief Gatsha Buthelezi will free the Black People. This famous "daddy" of the "Zulus" with his "tricks" manages to confuse so many black people. Content, they...

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Art is an act of resistance. It asserts our agency. Omar Badsha has identified not only as an artist, but an activist for most of his life. Born in 1945, he grew up under the oppression of apartheid, facing injustice on a daily basis. He was harassed, his work was banned, and his movement was restricted. But Badsha fought back with photography. Today his work as a historian is ensuring that the truth of our past, and our future, remains free.     

Badsha discovered his love of politics through his father, being raised in a house where activists came to meet. He had dreams of studying art abroad, but in 1965 was denied a passport by the government. Nevertheless, he continued to create, and that same year one of his woodcuts won the first of many awards. As a man well known for his doggedness, veracity, and humanity, Badsha refused to exhibit his drawings and paintings in segregated galleries. When he joined the trade union movement he turned his eye to photography. Badsha’s first book of photographs, Letter to Farzanah, was banned after release. Now freely accessible, his book depicts the lives of South African children of all races and backgrounds during apartheid. “We came out of a society where our history was actually erased, totally, not recognised,” he says. “But we turned it around during the anti-apartheid struggle.”

Badsha’s extensive photographic work has been exhibited globally, and it’s his emotive images of ordinary people that illustrate the heart behind his activism. In the 1990s, Badsha was finally given his first passport. It was only valid for three months, but the freedom he fought for came soon after as South Africa held its first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. He then founded South African History Online, a non-profit project dedicated to preserving an open history of our country. It’s the largest website of its kind in Africa, and has a virtual classroom to help teach children. In 2017, Badsha was awarded an honorary doctorate by Stellenbosch University. His work serves as a reminder that the pain of our past is not to be forgotten. Instead, it is the key to our future, and our freedom.

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