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Johannesburg honours 1976 youth leader Seth Mazibuko Print E-mail
19 June 2017

The City of Johannesburg honoured Seth Mazibuko, one of the most prominent leaders of the June 16 1976 Soweto uprising, when it declared his house a heritage site during the 41st anniversary of that fateful day on Friday.

The plaque declaring Mazibuko’s Orlando East house a heritage site was unveiled by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba as part of the City’s commemoration when scores of Soweto schoolchildren were shot dead by apartheid police for protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools.

House No 1206/15 in Msimang Street, Orlando East, was one of the homes secretly used by the youth to plan the 1976 march. It also served as a hideout for many of those who were running away from the murderous apartheid police in the aftermath of the uprising.

Mazibuko was the youngest member of the Student Action Committee that planned and led the Soweto uprising. He was only 16 years old when he was arrested and held in solitary confinement for 11 months at the notorious Fort Prison in Braamfontein before his imprisonment on Robben Island for seven years.

During the plaque unveiling ceremony, which was attended by Mazibuko’s family, MMC Sifumba said today’s youth could draw a lot of inspiration and strength from what the Class of 1976 stood for. She said the memory of June 16 1976 belonged to all South Africans. The City of Johannesburg, she said, was proud to evoke the spirit of 1976.

“The unveiling of this plaque is being done to preserve a heritage. Seth Mazibuko’s house is being recognised because it was one of the houses that were used by students to plan the 1976 march.

“Another important factor that we need to know about Seth Mazibuko is that his legacy goes beyond this plaque. He played a major role as the deputy president of the student movement after Tsietsi Mashinini.

“With this, we are encouraging the youth of today to learn from the heroes of 1976 to stand up for themselves, to fight social ills such as drugs and start holding their government accountable,” Cllr Sifumba said.

She said Johannesburg was a young and vibrant city and South Africa’s major economic hub. “The majority of people living in this cosmopolitan city are under the age of 35. The City’s activities and programmes reflect this fact,” she said.

“To the families of those who lost their lives during the heroic moments of June 16 1976, we thank you for the sacrifices your loved ones made for this country. Your loved ones paved the way to our socio-political emancipation. Let the current generation lead the way to our economic emancipation,” she said.

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Last Updated on 19 June 2017