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Social sciences: history

Grade 6

The road to democracy in sa

Module 6

Black resistance in the 1960’s and 1970’s

Activity 1:

To use sources on growing black resistance and eruptions during the 1960’s and 1970’s

[lo 1.2]

In 1959 the younger members of the ANC broke away and formed the PAC (Pan African Congress) under the leadership of Robert Subukwe. They believed that the ANC did not act with enough force. (Their armed wing was called Poqo).

After this, black resistance would become more intense. The tragedy at Sharpville is an example.

Robert Subukwe


The PAC organised countrywide protests against the pass laws in 1960. On 21 March a crowd of 10 000 black people gathered at the police station in Sharpville, just outside Vereeniging, to demonstrate against the pass laws. The police lost their nerve and started firing at the crowd. The shooting killed 69 of the demonstrators and wounded 187. This event led to worldwide reaction against the South African government. A post mortem brought to light that most of the people were shot from behind.

Mass protest, marches and strikes followed, so that a state of emergency was declared in SA. More than 22 000 people were detained or arrested. The ANC and the PAC were banned within two weeks, and their leaders had to flee from SA as exiles. Oliver Tambo continued the ANC freedom struggle from the ANC headquarters in Zambia, because most of the leaders in SA had been detained.

(a) Study this sketch in your group by means of W-questions.

First discuss the questions that follow with your friend.

  • Who are the people that revolted?
  • Where did the people demonstrate?
  • When did the uprisings take place?

1.4 Why did the people revolt?

1.5 What happened?

Graphic representation of a photograph of the Sharpville tragedy

  • Which questions come to mind? Write them down and share them.
  • Think of the present day South Africa. Do you think these people’s dreams have come true?

Nelson Mandela

When the Republic of SA came into being in 1961, black people were once again excluded from the process of government. The time for peaceful protest had passed and armed resistance against the government followed again in the 70’s. The ANC gradually became a mass movement, but members of the ANC who had not fled the country, had to operate in secret. The ANC and the SACP (South African Communist Party) established a secret wing, Umkonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation"), known as MK, to launch bomb attacks and organise sabotage against the government. Nelson Mandela was the first officer commanding of MK.

Seventeen top ANC-leaders however, were taken into custody by the police in Rivonia, Gauteng on 11 July 1963, while they were planning a revolution and a take-over of the government. Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela were among the eight accused who were found guilty of sabotage during the Rivonia trial. Nelson Mandela was found guilty on 200 counts of sabotage and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Violence, sabotage and bombs attacks increased, despite strong action by the government. The UNO decided on more sanctions against S.A.


On 16 June 1976 thousands of school children demonstrated, particularly in Soweto, against the policy that determined that half their lessons had to be taught in Afrikaans. They also demanded proper political, economic and social rights. After police had fired at protesters, country-wide unrest and uprising followed once more. Many people were killed. Afterwards, the Erika Theron Commission recommended that the SA constitution be changed to allow other population groups to participate in government.

Following this, the different Departments of Education were allowed to decide for themselves on the language of instruction in their schools.

(b) Answer the following questions on the accompanying source:

This sketch of the poignant photograph by Samuel Nzima, of 13 year-old Hector Petersen, testifies of the first deaths during the 1976 uprising in Soweto.

  • Who is being carried?
  • What happened to him?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen? (Why did the police shoot?)
  • What did it lead to?
  • What don’t you understand?

(c) Why was this report published in English?

From: The Star , 6 July 1976

Steve Biko

In 1977, Steve Biko, leader of the Black Awareness Movement, died from brain injuries after having been in police custody for 24 days. A medical examination indicated that he had received severe blows to the head during his detention. His death led to indignation and bitter reproach, both overseas and locally, especially among black people. The reaction of the government was to ban 17 organisations and two newspapers. The main aim of the Black Awareness Movement was to promote pride in being black.


Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 1
HISTORICAL ENQUIRY The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate the past and present.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
1.1 finds sources:
  • identifies sources to help answer the question about the topic;
1.2 works with sources:
  • selects and records relevant information for specific purposes from a variety of sources (e.g. oral, written and visual sources, including maps, graphs and tables, objects, buildings, monuments, museums);
1.3 answers the question:
  • arranges information logically and chronologically in answering questions about people, events, objects, and places in the past.

Questions & Answers

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Missy Reply
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Lale Reply
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Maira Reply
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Maira Reply
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Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
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Application of nanotechnology in medicine
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Crow Reply
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RAW Reply
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I think
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nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
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industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
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What is meant by 'nano scale'?
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scanning tunneling microscope
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Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
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Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
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The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, History grade 6. OpenStax CNX. Sep 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11011/1.1
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