You are looking at posts tagged with Process.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

PAC led 1960 Poisitve Action Campaign Route from Orlando East

Date: 17 July 2007
Route Guide: John Gaanakgomo (PAC member)
Documenter: Ismail Farouk
Facilitator: Ali Hlongwane, (curator HPMM)
Observers: John Mahapa and Babak Fakhamzadeh

John Gaanakgomo was the first Chairman of the PAC in Orlando East. His political career began in the ANC Youth league but because of ideological differences with the organisation, he along with other members of similar thought, broke away from the ANC to form the PAC. Gaanakgomo elaborates, " We deviated from the ANC because of the issues around land and Africaness. The Freedom Charter states, “The People Shall Govern”. But who are the People? Africa is for Africans!" It was because of the contrary issue of Africanism that the PAC was formed at the Orland East Community Center in 1959.

2 johns

John Mahapa (left) and John Gaanakgoro standing outside the Orlando East Community Center

On the morning of 21 March 1960. Members of the PAC were strategically positioned on street corners in Orlando East to intercept men walking to the train station on they way to work. Passing men were encouraged not to go to work but rather to hand themselves over for arrest.

John Gaanakgomo's Position

John Gaanakgomo waited here on the 21st March 1960. He targeted all males on their way to work asking them to present themselves for arrest at the police station.

Gaanakgomo was positioned near Mlamlankunzi Station which is located in close proximately to the Orlando Police Station. He remembers addressing men asking them to proceed to the Police Station. He received mixed reactions to his request, "Some men were surprised, others thought we were mad for our actions. Some joined willingly. Others were forced to."

As the PAC members walked towards the police station on Mooki Street they sang their songs and were greeted by students from Orlando High School. Some students joined the march.
The idea was to flood the jails as a protest action against reference books.

As they neared the police station, the men were warned about special police who were deployed to disrupt the march. So the marching men dispersed and took back roads to avoid special police. Soon they reached the Orlando Police Station where the waiting men assembled under the shade of a blue gum tree.

orlando police station

Outside the Orlando Police Station

Gaanakgomo remembers waiting outside for most of the day. More men arrived in drips and drabs. Eventually, the police arrested the core members of the organization only. But Gaanakgomo and his group insisted on being arrested with their leaders and so a short while later all of the waiting men were arrested. John Gaanakgomo was detained for several months later.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Process: Junior Secondary School Route

Date: 10 August 2006
Route Guide: Ali Hlongwane (Curator HPMM)
Documenter: Ismail Farouk

On the 10th of August 2006, Ali Hlongwane and I set off to retrace the Junior Secondary School route in Diepkloof. Junior Secondary School has been renamed to Bopasenatla High School and is located on Sono Street in Diepkloof. Sono Street exists on an east-west axis and was difficult to identify, mainly because of the absence street signs. Ali spent his childhood years in Diepkloof and has an intimate knowledge of the many passageways and unnamed roads which characterise the area. His knowledge and memory of the area was invaluable as we struggled to find appropriate street names. Our map of the Diepkloof area was highly inaccurate and still bears coded reference numbers as street names. To add to our confusion, Diepkloof has many streets and roads with the same name. Most roads are called ‘Immink’.

Junior Secondary School
Figure: Junior Secondary School

After documenting the current schoolyard, Ali pointed out an adjacent vacant lot which was the site of WRAB offices in 1976. The WRAB offices were destroyed in the aftermath of Hector Pieterson’s killing. The land has remained undeveloped ever since.

We began by crossing Sono Street and walked in a northerly direction towards Mbila Street which forms a crescent. At the northern end of Mbila Street we proceeded through a pedestrian passageway which connects with Dlanga Street which also happens to form a crescent. We continued on our northerly trajectory through a second pedestrian passageway. The environmental conditions through both the passageways were very poor. The area was characterised by illegal dumping along the edges.

Diepkloof Passageway
Figure: The first passageway

At the northern end of the second passageway, we stopped near a dusty soccer field. From here we could clearly see Vulazamazibuko Higher Primary School just ahead. This is where Ali went to School in 1976. He commented on how he still remembers seeing large crowds of students emerging from the passageway which we had just walked through on their way to meet students from Madibane High School. This is where Ali joined the march.

Dusty Football
Figure: Dusty Football Field

On the northern boundary of Vulamazibuko Higher Primary School, on Tsekuhle Street, Ali pointed out the house of the Zulu shaman, Credo Mutwa. Credo Mutwa’s house was destroyed during the uprisings for comments he made regarding the negative nature of the uprisings. After a brief pause, we continued north on Immink Street. We stopped at the intersection of Immink and Eteza Streets, where Ali pointed out his childhood home to me.

Ali Childhood Home
Figure: Ali Hlongwane's Childhood Home

Ali commented on how drastically the environment has changed over thirty years. Further down Eteza Street, new larger residences have been built. One such residence, on the corner of Eteza and Umhanga Streets was a former WRAB office which was also attacked and destroyed during the uprisings. At the end of Eteza Street we paused and looked at the park and offices ahead. The offices ahead were WRAB administration buildings which were burnt and destroyed. Today, the former WRAB site is home to municipal rental offices. The park which surrounds the municipal offices exists in a poor, overgrown state. Ali commented that the park has been recently upgraded but a lack of management has led to its current poor condition.

Overgrown Park Diepkloof
Figure: Overgrown Park Diepkloof

We turned right up Immink Road and continued in a Northerly direction on our final part of our journey towards the sports grounds near Eben Cuyler Street. Here students joined the group from Madibane High School but instead of marching to Orlando Stadium as intended, news of Hector Pieterson’s death filtered through the ranks and the intended peaceful march turned to anger as students attacked buildings associated with the apartheid regime.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Process: Tshesele High School Route

Date: 03 August 2006
Route Guide: Antonette Sithole (June 16 Foundation)
Documenter: Ismail Farouk and S'phelele Nxumalo (ASM)
Observer: Oupa Moloto (June 16 Foundation)

On Thursday 3rd August 2006, Our research group began to map the route taken by Antonette Sithole on June 16 1976 from Tshesele High School in Central Western Jabavu to Phefeni Junior Secondary in Orlando West. Sithole is Hector Pieterson's older sister. Today she works for the June 16 Foundation which is located within the Hector Pieterson Museum.

Thesele High School
Figure: Tshesele High School

At the beginning point, within the Tshesele school grounds, Sithole described how students from the nearby Morris Isaacson High School came to her school to collect students in their united march against the oppressive system. Sithole said, “We were very happy with pride, we were looking forward to uniting with other schools. It was the first time that students were without parents and so very happy. No one told us what to do and we were happy to miss school. Singing and chanting…we were told to be calm and not to provoke the police…We planned to walk on the main street but took short cuts to avoid police”.

We left the school grounds and walked in a northerly direction on Diokane Street. I asked Sithole how her brother Hector got involved in the march, to which she replied, “The younger one's saw us leaving in our uniforms and wanted to join the excitement".

We turned right off Diokane Street, into Mavi Street and left into Mlangeni Street and proceeded west towards Mputhi Street. At this point, Tshesele High students joined the main group from Morris Isaacson High School. Today a general dealer called Sizwe Stores is located at this meeting point. In 1976, there was a coal yard on the site. Oupa Moloto commented that there were about 2000 students in the group outside the coal yard.

From this point, Sithole directed us north on Mputhi Street past the Mshenguville Squatter camp. We soon turned right onto Mwasi Street and proceeded through Mofolo Park on Mzilkatzi Street.

Trolley Pusher Mofolo

Figure: Trolley Pusher on Mzilkatzi Street.

We turned right into Mptipa Street and stopped outside the home of Dr. Nthato Motlana. Dr. Motlana devoted his live to serving the community of Soweto. He was the founder of the Black Medical Discussion Group in the late sixties to raise funds for struggling medical students and was involved in many other community organisations (Mashabela 1987). It was here outside the home of Dr. Motlana where Tsietsie Mashinini addressed students warning them about a police presence and calling for calm.

I asked Moloto how Tsietsie got to this point as he had just addressed another group of students at the landmark bridge on Machaba Street. Moloto explained that unmarked vehicles were used by the coordinators of the march on the day. He suggested that the vehicles were hired by members of the ANC. Tsietsie was driven around and was therefore able to address various groupings of students at various stages of the march.

The route meandered along Mtipa Street and we soon turned uphill on Butshingi Street. At the top of Butshingi we turned right into Vilikazi Street. Further on Vilikazi Street we stopped at the official shooting site of Hector Pieterson on the corner of Vilikazi and Moema Streets. The memorial is often vandalised by youth who express themselves through graffiti.

They Will Pay
Figure: The Memorialised Shooting Site

According to Sithole, the location of the official shooting site differs from the actual spot where her brother was shot. She remembers the shooting site being closer to the corner of Moema and Phiri Streets where she was hiding in the yard of the corner house.

Antonette Sithole
Figure: Antonette Sithole relives the events of June 16 1976.

I asked Sithole what happened here once she got here? Sithole relates: "When the shooting began, I went into hiding. When the shooting stopped, I came out of hiding when others came out. I saw Hector across the street, and I called him and waved at him, he came over and I spoke to him but more shots rang out and I went into hiding again. I thought he followed me but he did not come. I came out of hiding and waited at the spot where I just saw him but he did not come. When Mbuyiso came passed me a group of children were gathering nearby. He walked towards the group and picked up a body...And then I saw Hector's shoes".

Famous Photo Site
Figure: The Famous Photo Site

A short time later Sithole was running beside Mbuyiso who was carrying Hector Pieterson. They headed towards Phomolong Clinic along Sisulu Street. Along the way, a photographer called Sam Nzima took the famous picture of the distressed children.

Whilst at the clinic Sithole watched a frenzied mob kill a white municipal worker who was later identified as J.N.B. Estherhuizen. He was dragged from his car and brutally killed. Estherhuizen was one of two white officials killed on the day.

phomolong cliinic
Figure: Phomolong Clinic

Hector Pieterson was pronounced dead here at Phomolong Clinic. Today, Sithole continues to keep her brother's memory alive with her work at the museum and as a public speaker. When not in the museum, she can be found on the streets of Soweto, physically laying the bricks on the the route taken by students on June 16 1976.

Labels: , , ,