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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Vuwani Secondary School Route (Chiawelo)

This is the route taken by Reginah Msundiwa, a student at Vuwani Secondary School in Chiawelo. Msundiwa is a qualified nurse an currently works as a research assistant at Baragwnath Hospital.The importance of Msundiwa’s story is that she represents a participant who had no prior knowledge of the march and was surprised when she got to school on that fateful Wednesday morning. Msundiwa elaborates, “ I got to school in the morning and during the assembly students began to sing and we addressed by one of the student leaders - I don’t know his name. He said that today we are marching against Afrikaans. I was surprised, really, I was surprised!�?

Vuwani Secondary School is located in Chiawelo in the far south western corner of Soweto. Students planned to march all the way to Orlando West and hoped to collect other students from neighbouring schools along the way. Their plan was to collect students from Sekano Ntoane before proceeding pass Morris Isaacson High School in Central Western Jabvu. However, the plan did not work out as intended as students from neighbouring schools left already.

Students from Vuwani Secondry School were the last group marching on 16 June 1976. They covered a fair distance, avoiding main roads as they ambelled towards Mputhi Street in White City. When the students got to Morris Isaacon High School the school grounds were empty. Msundiwa’s group was adressed by a student leader (not Tsietsie) who warned them about a looming police presence and called for a peaceful and calm protest.

The Vuwani group proceeded on Mputhi Street but a short while later they were met by police. By the time Msundiwa got to the corner of Mputhi and Roodeport Roads, news of the killing of Hector Pieterson and of the white socioogist Dr. Melville Edelstein reached her. Msundiwa remembers running for cover from police who began an assault on her group. The Vuwani group dispersed into the White City landscape, running into adjacent yards and houses in order to avoid gun fire.

Msundiwa’s march along with most students from Vuwani Secondary School ended here, outsdie Sizwe Stores about 10 Km away from Orlando West. A small group from her school continued through Mofolo Park in order to get to Orlando West. Their fate is still unknown.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Morris Isaacson High School Route

One of the main routes of the 1976 Soweto Uprisings from Morris Isaacson High School in Central Western Jabavu to Phefeni Junior Secondary School in Orlando West.

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