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WEB EXCLUSIVES | August 3, 2010     

22. The famous photo taken by Sam Nzima of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying the lifeless body of the 12-year old Hector Pieterson, who was shot dead by police on 16 June 1976. Police opened fire on black students as they sang: “Nkosi Skilel’ iAfrika” (“God Bless Africa,” now part of the South African National Anthem), while demonstrating during the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Considered one of the most watershed events in the struggle against apartheid, the Soweto Uprising started when thousands of black school children flooded the streets of Soweto peacefully demonstrating against the mandatory use of Afrikaans as the official language of pedagogical instruction in South Africa (see Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974). According to official government figures, 23 students were killed during the protests, though numbers as high as 600 were reported by international news agencies.

In post-apartheid South Africa, the 16th of June is commemorated as National Youth Day.

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