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Youth Day 2015 / Today in South Africa’s History

Look with sadness at the past, but with hope toward the future.

Youth Day in Kimberley

Section By Steve Lunderstedt, Kimberley’s well knows historical expert.
16-06 Today in Kimberley's History - Youth Day  01Youth Day on 16 June is a public holiday in South Africa and commemorates a protest which resulted in a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. The number of people who died is usually given as 176.

Hector Pieterson (1963-1976), together with Mbuyisa Makhubo (1957 -) and Hector’s sister Antoinette are the faces of the Soweto uprising, bein16-06 Today in Kimberley's History - Youth Day  02g pictured in the iconic photographs taken by Sam Nzima. (The family of Pieterson state that this is the correct spelling of the surname.) He was killed at the age of 13 when the police opened fire on protesting students.

16-06 Today in Kimberley's History - Youth Day  03Mbuyisa Makhubo is the 18-year old South African school boy seen carrying the dying Hector Pieterson in the famous photograph.

After the photograph was released, Makhubo was harassed and was forced to flee South Africa. His mother, Nombulelo Makhubo, told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that she received a letter from him from Nigeria in 1978, but that she had not heard from him since.

In 2013, claims emerged that a man imprisoned in Canada for the previous eight years on immigration charges was Makhubo. Genetic tests were conducted to determine whether this man is indeed Mbuyisa Makhubo. It was later reported that the DNA tests did not substantiate the man’s claim to be Makhubo, to the disappointment of Makhubo’s family.

Although the media often named Hector as the first child to die that fateful day, another boy, Hastings Ndlovu, was actually the first child to be shot. But in the case of Hastings, there were no photographers on the scene, and his name was not immediately known.

When Hector was shot, he fell on the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets, he was picked up by Makhubo who together with Hector’s sister, Antoinette, ran towards Sam Nzima’s car. They bundled him in, and the journalist Sophie Tema drove him to a nearby clinic where he was pronounced dead.

(Various sources. All photographs by Sam Nzima).”

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