As we remembered the heroic actions of the young people in the Soweto uprising of June 16 1976, we were visited by two of these students who were convicted of inciting the rebellion and who our now are influential members of the new South Africa they helped to create.
Seth Mazibuko and Sibongile Mkhabela chatted to our young men and women in the College and Sixth Form.
Seth spoke of his time on the Student Action Committee in Soweto. He was just 15 years old when he was part of the Soweto 11 who were charged with treason and sent to Robben Island. He spoke to our students about three stone ages: “We threw stones at the apartheid government on the streets of Soweto, we broke stones when were sent to Robben Island and we used stones to slowly build the new South Africa.” His messages to the St John’s community was that they must take their place in building the history of this country.
We threw stones at the apartheid government on the streets of Soweto, we broke stones when were sent to Robben Island and we used stones to slowly build the new South Africa.
Sibongile Mkhabela, the only woman in the Soweto 11, served three years at Kroonstad and Pretoria Maximum prisons where she was kept in solitary confinement for months. She shared stories of her years in activism and about how the future must be built by the hands of our young. Sibongile is currently CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.
It was a great honour to listen to these veterans of that fateful day.