Lesley Hastings Ndlovu

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The only known picture of Hastings Ndlovu Image source

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Date of death: 
16 June 1976
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Hastings Ndlovu was a fifteen year old boy at the time of the Soweto Youth Uprising in 1976. He is widely believed to be the first boy who was shot dead by police on that day, sustaining an injury to his head from which he died in hospital. The Coloured doctor at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital who received Ndlovu, Malcolm Klein, described what he saw that afternoon in grim detail: “a bullet wound to one side of his head, blood and brains spilling out of a large exit wound on the other side, the gurgle of death in his throat." Klein was initially totally perplexed by what must have happened. Why was this schoolboy shot in the head? Had there been a robbery? Was he caught in crossfire? It was only later that he and the rest of the country learnt - that the police had deliberately opened fire on schoolchildren who were protesting against the imposition of Afrikaans as a language of school instruction. 

Of all the youth shot by police on June 16, the most famous is undoubtedly Hector Pieterson, after whom the museum in Soweto is named. The reason for this is that a photographer, Sam Nzima, was on hand to take his photo moments after he was shot - images of Ndolvu, however, are scarce.

Both Ndlovu and Pieterson are buried at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto. 

Last updated : 15-Jun-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 02-Mar-2012

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