The one that got away

1986/04_L&T Cover

The one that got away

– a snippet of Learn and Teach, an adult literacy magazine
(Learn and Teach 4, 1986)

Hassen Lorgat

13 June 2016

Three decades ago, a small team of a radical adult literacy magazine was putting the finishing touches to their latest edition, Learn and Teach magazine number 4, 1986. On its cover was the iconic photo by Sam Nzima of the first reported fatal incidents of 16 June 1976, the injured and dying Hector Pieterson in the arms of Mbuyisa Makhuba, and running anxiously alongside, Antoinette Sithole.

Commemorating a decade since ‘76 was too much for the apartheid state to tolerate. No sooner had the magazine been published than it was banned.

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On 16th June 1976

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Students said, “No Afrikaans”

On the 16th June ten years ago people went home at the end of the day, as always. But when they turned on their radios and opened their newspapers, they knew South Africa would never be the same again. The extra late edition of the World newspaper said,

4 DEAD, 11 HURT AS KIDS RIOT

At least four people are said to be dead and 14 hurt in Soweto today. Police clashed with some 10 000 school kids who marched through the streets of the township. They were protesting against being taught some subjects in Afrikaans.
One of the dead is a student, the other is an old man, who died from a stray bullet.
A policeman was also said to be dead and a white motorist was stabbed to death. His car was stoned and set on fire. In Phefeni a police car was stoned and set on fire. But the driver escaped unhurt.
Among the people hurt were two students – one was shot in the leg and the other has a bullet wound in the back.
Police and school kids clashed near Belle Higher Primary School, Orlando West.
About 300 policemen fired hundreds of rounds into the air as they tried to stop the riots. Kids threw stones at the police.
Police also shot at more than 1000 pupils from Naledi west of Soweto. The Naledi pupils were marching to join the other rioting pupils.
Many of the 50 police cars which raced to the scene of the riot had their windscreens broken by the angry students.

This story was written by Sophie Tema and the photographs were taken by Sam Nzima. These photographs were used all over the world.

Sam Nzima talks about what they saw. “We were covering the great march by students from Naledi High to Morris Isaacson High, then to Orlando West High. It was just an ordinary, peaceful march. Then the police arrived.

“They told the children to stop. The students started singing ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’. We were in the middle of the crowd.

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Students after a meeting at Regina Mundi

Then a white policeman ordered his men to fire, and all hell broke loose. Many students surrounded the police, others ran to a nearby hill and started throwing stones at the police.

“We ran to our car. During the shooting I saw a young man and a young woman running towards the car. They were carrying a student who was bleeding badly. I took a lot of pictures.

“They asked for help. We rushed him in our car to a clinic, but the student was already dead.

“Then we went on to the newspaper office. We were shaking. But we had to write the story and print the pictures.”

The death of the student, Hector Petersen, shocked South Africa and the world. But it started a new chapter in the history of South Africa. The unrest didn’t stop on June 16th.
Between June 1976 and February 1977, 700 people died. 4 000 people were hurt. 6 000 people were arrested. And people think that 4 000 students left South Africa to join the African National Congress.

STUDENTS TALK

PETRUS – A FORM 2 STUDENT AT MADIBANE HIGH IN 1976
“A week before 16th June, the principal told us that we had to learn in Afrikaans. We felt angry because we did not understand Afrikaans well. How could we learn in Afrikaans? We had meetings at school. Then we decided to come together with other schools. All the students agreed – no Afrikaans.

“On the 15th June we went from school to school, telling students to join the march the next day. On the 16th we never went to classes. We went to meet the Morris Isaacson students. But they had to pass the Meadowlands Police Station and we had to pass the Orlando Police Station.

“We never met. The police stopped the students from ‘deep Soweto’. The Diepkloof students split up in Orlando East. Taxi drivers told us that the police had stopped the other students.

“The next day we went to school, but we had no lessons. We got a message from the other Diepkloof schools to meet them. So we marched again.Some people wanted to attack bottle stores on the way. Students felt that liquor was killing our people.

“But then some students said we must meet with the students from other schools. Together we must decide what to attack. So we marched to Orlando. On the way we stoned WRAB offices. The police came. Some people ran away but others were caught.

“I was caught. I can’t tell you what I felt. I did not know what the police would do to us. They put us into a land rover and took us to a bigger van. That van smelt of liquor. They packed us like sardines. We had to lie down, then they made others lie on top of us. Some people were wounded.

“At about midday they took us to the Orlando Police Station. In the charge office, they took our names and addresses. Most people gave wrong names. Then they said we must li~ flat. They walked on top of us for about 2 – 3 hours.

“Then they took us to another room. They hit us with batons. When people wanted to go to the toilet, they were told to wee into their hands and not to mess the floor.

“Luckily the following morning some policemen felt sorry for the little kids who were with us. These kids were betweeen 9 and 14 years old. The police told us to take them home. When we got out, some people could not see and others could walk properly. We could not help those who were badly hurt to get home.

“My parents were very happy to see me. I went back to school but I was a new person. Before I was a child but after my arrest, I felt like an old person. I began to know what was happening around the country. And I knew what I wanted and what I did not want as a human being.”

PHINDI MAVUSO – 1976 VICTIM
“In 1976, I was 14 years old. I was doing Form 2 at Kwa-Mahlobo in Zone 10, Meadowlands.

“One day during the riots, I heard one of my friends was detained. Soon after that I heard that he had died in prison.His name was Jacob Mashabane. His funeral was on the 24th of October.

“My friends and I wanted to go to the funeral. People at the funeral were singing freedom songs. When we reached the graveyard at Doornkop, the police were waiting outside. One policeman spoke in Afrikaans. I did not understand what he said. I think he said we must go home. But people went on with their singing.

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Running from some Teargas

“The policemen fired teargas. We started running in all directions. Then the policemen started shooting. As I was running I felt a pain in my right leg. But I did not stop until I found a place to hide under some trees.

“When I opened my eyes, I was in hospital. The doctors said they had to cut off my leg. I stayed in hospital for six months. Then I was well enough to go home.

“I could not find a place in a school. When they heard I was shot at a funeral, they all said their schools were full. But I wrote my matric – I did three subjects in 1979 and three subjects in 1980. Now I am working at the Self Help Association for Paraplegics (SHAP).

“It is very difficult to say if South Africa has changed in the last ten years. I think that people, the youth, have lost their patience. It seems they get angrier everyday. For me the last ten years have been difficult. And I cannot say what is going to happen in the future, really.

ANTOINETTE THANDI PIETERSON – SISTER OF HECTOR PIETERSON
“In 1976 I was a Form 2 student at Thesele Secondary School in White City. On 16th June, I was at Orlando West with the other students. When the shooting started, I hid in the trees.

“At about 11o’clock I came out of the trees and saw, Hector, my younger brother. Hector was twelve at this time. He was at Itheteng Higher Primary School. It was the first time I saw him that day.

“I called him over and told him to stay with me. Soon I saw he was no longer standing where I told him to stand. Three minutes later I heard a shot. I ducked down together with other people.

“I saw about four or five boys carrying a person. I recognised Hector’s shoes. I pushed people aside, telling them that the person was my brother. A boy in overalls took Hector and ran to some nearby cars. I followed him.

“The boy in overalls told the driver of one of the cars that Hector was finished. But the woman there said we must take Hector to the clinic. So I got in the car with Hector and the boy in overalls.

“At Phefeni clinic, two doctors looked at Hector. Then they called me to them. They told me Hector was dead. They asked for the name and address of my family.

“I stayed at the clinic for two hours. Then two teachers came to fetch me. They said they would take me home. When I got home only my grandmother was there. They told her about Hector’s death. Then I went with my brother, Vuse to Meadowlands where we found my mother. We told her what happened to Hector.

“Later the police told me that Hector killed one of their dogs.”

A TEACHER TALKS
CURTIS NKONDO – then principal of Lamula Jubilee Junior Secondary School.
“I knew about the march a week beforeJune 16th.” said Curtis. “Teachers were very angry about Afrikaans. Many of them did not know Afrikaans well enough to use it to teach. And we felt that Afrikaans would make studying even more difficult for the students.

“On the 16th June, I went to the school board offices in Dube. I passed the students on the way. They were already in Orlando. Then I went over a bridge. On the other side of the bridge I saw the police.

“When I heard the news that night, I could not believe that the police shot at the kids.

“I wanted to stop teaching before the march – but I did not want to leave my students. The inspectors were worrying me because we refused to use Afrikaans at our school.

“So I did not care if I was fired. Lamula became the place where the SSRC – the Soweto Students Representative Council- met. I spoke to them about Afrikaans and Bantu education. I once went to a student meeting in the veld near Naledi. No-one knew that I was a principal – they would have been very surprised if they did know.

“It was very difficult to teach for the rest of 1976. Some days the children came, some days there were no children. Sometimes the police came to the school. Many of our students were detained and many left the country.

“The teachers did not know what to do. They started to leave teaching, one by one. When we saw this happening,” says Curtis, “we knew we must do something. So in August 1977 we had a big teachers meeting at the Methodist Church in White City.

The meeting made a list of demands:
No Afrikaans
Bantu education out
No more school committees
Better wages and working conditions

“The teachers chose ‘The Committee of Six’. I was one of them. We spoke to lawyers. We wanted to know what would happen if all the teachers walked out.

“The teachers met again a month later. Over five hundred teachers decided to leave.”

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The police, waiting

Learn and Teach asked the UDF and AZAPO how they think South Africa has changed in the last ten years.

MURPHY MOROBE – PUBLICITY SECRETARY FOR THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT (UDF)
“In 19761 was a member of the South African Students Movement and the Soweto Students Representative Council (SSRC) – the people who led the schools in 1976 and 1977. At that time we believed that we must free the minds of black people.

“We thought we were the first people to fight the government. We did not know about the Defiance Campaign and the school boycotts in the 1950’s. We wanted ‘freedom quickly, overnight. But we learnt many things in 1976.

“We learnt that we must be united to be strong. And to be united, people must join organisations. In those days students were the leaders. When we wanted people to stay away from work, we gave out pamphlets. We hoped people would read the pamphlets and listen to them.

“We made one big mistake. We never spoke to the people in the hostels. This led to very bad fights between the township people and the hostel people. But now we try to work with everyone.

“Today there are many strong trade unions in Cosatu. Now the students are no longer the leaders – the parents are! But I think the students of 1976 helped to make the unions strong.

“The government has changed. The army and the police are stronger than in 1976. But the Nationalist Party is having problems. The whites are fighting amongst themselves. The groups fighting apartheid are stronger than before. And the UDF is now one of the strongest groups.

“I believe it does not help to say when we will be free. We must work now. But we do not think that this government. will last. People must come together to end apartheid soon. People must join organisations and help to make their organisations strong.”

SATHS COOPER – CHAIRPERSON OF AZAPO
“When the students started to boycott classes in Soweto, I was in court, on trial. The government charged many people who belonged to the South African Students’ Organisation. We did not know what was happening.

“Then one day some students came to court. They told us what they were doing in Soweto. Later the court said we were guilty and we went to Robben Island.

“I think that 1976 brought people together again. People were worried about their children. So they joined groups like the (B.RA.) Black Parents Association. People like Nthato Motlana, Winnie Mandela and Zephania Mothuping all worked together. But they all had different political ideas. “In 1976 ‘black consciousness’ organisations were strong. They all believed that black people must fight the government on their own. But in September 1977, our leader, Steve Biko was killed.

“And in October the government banned all the ‘black consciousness’ organisations like the South African Students’ Organisation, the Black People’s Convention. If our organisations were not banned, we would be stronger today.

“I also think that the young people then, knew what they were doing. They used to talk to people before a stay-away – not like today. They did not make people eat soap powder or drink oil. There were thugs in 1976. But they used to loot shops – they did not worry people like today.

“Today people are killing each other in the name of the struggle. We will lose what we have won if people do not stop fighting. People say, ‘If people are going to fight like this when you take over, then we cannot support you.’ We must stop these killings and work together.’

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Worried parents came together

We want to thank everyone who helped us with this story, especially ‘The Sowetan’ and ‘The Indicator’.

NO PLACE LIKE FIETAS

Untitled0-8Ten years ago if you wanted to find the best bargains and the cheapest shops in Jo’burg, there was only place to go — Fietas. But today there is no Fietas, only Pageview, where Fietas used to be.

The government said Fietas must be for whites only. So many people had to leave. All the Africans went to Soweto, the ‘coloureds’ went to Eldo’s and all the Indians went to Lenz. And while people were busy moving out, the bulldozers moved in, knocking down the old houses and shops.

Learn and Teach went to Lenasia to visit Mrs Naidoo. Mrs Naidoo lived in Fietas for most of her life. She told us about the good old days.

EVERYONE KNEW EVERYONE

“When I first left Fietas, I used to cry all the time.” says Mrs Naidoo. “I went to town every-day because I was so lonely. In Fietas there were always people around. We knew everyone. Here in Lenz, people are boarders in their own homes. People pay rent but their houses are not homes. People do not spend any time at home. Everybody goes to work early and comes back late.”

SHARING THE GOOD AND THE BAD

Then Mrs Naidoo started to talk about life in Fietas. “In Fietas life was beautiful,” says Mrs Naidoo. “Everybody was for everybody. No matter who you were, or what you were, no matter what colour you were, everybody cared for each other.

“For women Fietas was especially good. There were no creches or things like that. So all the women helped each other. The women were there, at home all day. Lots of the women worked, but they worked at home, doing dressmaking and things like that.

“My husband wouldn’t look after the children. No, he wouldn’t do that. He would say, “Take your ‘parcel’ with you or get somebody to look after them. I can’t look after children.” So you went to your friends.

SISTERS TOGETHER

“I had a friend next door who really helped me a lot. We were like sisters. All our babies were delivered at home with a midwife or a nurse. We used to help each other. When she gave birth, I helped. I cooked for her, and looked after the kids. And when I was sick, she used to come and cook for me.

“If my friend went to see a film, she would say, ‘You must go and see that film, it’s very nice. You go and I will look after the children.’ If my friend cooked something special, she always sent some to me and I did the same.

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Feitas — the houses were old, the taps leaked — but it was home

NO SPACE

“Our biggest problem in Fietas was space. The houses were very small, two bedrooms and a kitchen. But I think that brought people together. If you were having a party, or a feast, then everyone helped.

“People with big houses let you store your things in their house. Or, if you had a visitor, they let your visitor sleep at their house.

“There was no place for the children to play — we had no gardens. So the children played in the street. There was always hopscotch drawn on the road and skipping ropes tied across the street.

“But you knew the children were safe. The streets were very narrow — only one car could go down. So people drove very slowly. Also the children were always nearby. It was easy to keep an eye on them.

BUYING ON THE BOOK

“When you needed something, the shops were right there — you just sent the children, your own child or your neighbour’s child. And if you did not have cash, you bought ‘on the book.’

“We all kept books. When the kids went to the shop, the shopkeeper wrote down what you bought. At the end of the week, or at the end of the month, you took your book to the shop. The shop-keeper added up how much you owed and you paid him. “We also bought food every day, but now the shops are so far away you must buy for a week, or for the month.

 DIFFERENT CUSTOMS

“People had different customs. Some people were Moslems, others were Hindu. At the end of the Moslem fast, everyone waited in the streets, watching for the new moon. When the children saw the moon, they used to run down the streets, shouting. Then we all knew that we could eat.

“In October it was the Hindu Diwali. The night before Diwali people lit little lamps with camphor oil in them. The whole of Fietas smelt of camphor and excitement. And on Diwali night, there were wonderful fireworks. The whole sky was full of light from the fireworks.

RICH LANDLORDS

“We were not without problems in Fietas. The landlords were rich from the rent we paid while we lived from hand-to-mouth. The rents were high for such small houses. We had no electricity and water in the houses.

“Sometimes four families shared a yard. You all shared a tap and the toilet too. Often there were fights about cleaning. When I got angry, I used to say, “Yissus, we have to clean other people’s shit here also.” Then people would get shy and do the work.

IT HURT TO LEAVE

“But even with the bad times, I felt very hurt about leaving Fietas. It was my home. It was the place I wanted to be. When we left, I knew I was leaving my home behind. This Lenz is not home.

“Now when I go to the clinic, I meet people from Coronation who lived in Fietas. When we talk, I say that I am away from home. There can never be another Fietas, no matter where you go. Everyone I meet says that. Before, in Fietas, we were part of the community, but here in Lenz we are people on our own.

” Life has changed. I’ m not the same person I was in Fietas. In Fietas I used to get along with everyone. Here in Lenz you don’t even see your neighbours. Everybody is for themselves here.

“Even the other people who moved to Lenz from Fietas are different now. People are scared. In Fietas you always left your door open. But here everyone locks their doors, even if they are in the backyard.

“When I see the people next door, it’s hello and finished. You can’t think of your neighbour when you can’t even think of yourself. “I hardly ever see my old friends from Fietas. They are all living in different places. My old neighbour lives in Actonville, in Benoni. Sometimes we visit each other at weekends.

PLAYING WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES

“I don’t think that the government understands what they are doing. They sit and say this place must be white, this place must be black or indian or whatever — like they are playing a game of chess.

“But they don’t know how it feels to lose your home and your friends. They don’t know how it feels to move with the help of bulldozers.”

PORT ALFRED A SMALL LIGHT IN THE DARK

Sleepy Port Alfred wakes up

Sleepy Port Alfred wakes up

Everywhere we go, we hear the name Port Alfred — Port Alfred here, Port Alfred there. “What is so exciting about Port Alfred?” we asked ourselves.

The people at Learn and Teach don’t like to miss news. So when we heard that the chairman of the Port Alfred Residents’ Civic Organisation (PARCO), Gugile Nkwinti, was coming to Jo’burg, we rushed to meet him. And Gugile told us the story of Port Alfred.

GUGILE GOES TO PORT ALFRED

Gugile first moved to Inkwenkwezi, the township outside Port Alfred, in 1976. He was very shocked. The houses were falling down. And the people were very poor. But people only came together for church and rugby.

Gugile helped where he could. He started a soccer club and a drama club for young people. They kept all the money from the drama club. They used it to help students with school fees.

HEADACHES AT NONZAMO HIGH SCHOOL

At the beginning of 1984 the students at Nonzamo High School in Inkwenkwezi started to boycott classes. The parents started the Nonzamo Students Guardians’ Association. They tried to solve the problems at Nonzamo. But the police came. Children were beaten and then a young boy was killed. People were very angry. They wanted the boy’s funeral to be on Saturday.

Everyone wanted to go to the funeral — but the funeral was banned. The police said the funeral must be on Friday.

 NO-ONE IS FORGOTTEN

No one went to work that day. Many people were fired. People needed their jobs back. So they came together to fight for their jobs. That was the beginning of the Port Alfred Workers Union. No one in Inkwenkwezi was forgotten when people started to organise. Many pensioners were having big problems with their pensions. Some people went to a meeting about pensions in Grahamstown.

At that meeting people learnt that they were not getting the right money. So, when they came back to Port Alfred, the pensioners started their own organisation — the Port Alfred Pensioners Association. And soon all the old people got the money that was owed to them.

THE COMMUNITY COUNCIL RESIGNS

 People also spoke to the Community Council in Inkwenkwezi. They told the councillors that they were working for the government — and not the community. They said that no-one liked the Community Councils because they were part of Apartheid.

When the councillors resigned, people were very happy. They asked them to join the new organisations. Today one of the councillors is the general secretary of the Port Alfred Workers Union.

THE BEERHALL BOYCOTT

When the youth congress, PAYCO, started in Port Alfred, they asked people to boycott the beer-hall. They said it was the smartest building in a township where all the houses were falling down. And the beer-hall owner made lots of money but he did not help people in Inkwenkwezi.

In May the police arrested Gugile and two other men. The police said they were frightening the beer-hall owner — they were trying to make him close his business.

Gugile Nkwinti — chairman of the Port Alfred Residents' Civic Organisation.

Gugile Nkwinti — chairman of the Port Alfred Residents’ Civic Organisation.

THE EMERGENCY COMES TO PORT ALFRED

Gugile and his friends did not spend long in jail. But on 1 June, Gugile was back in jail again. This time he was detained under the emergency laws. Gugile says, “It was a bad time in Port Alfred. People went mad. Someone was necklaced. People cut the telephone lines. They dug trenches in the streets to keep out the hippo’s and the casspirs.”

People also started to boycott white shops. Their demand was simple — they wanted their leaders out of jail. In jail, a warrant officer told Gugile to stop the trouble. Guguile told him, ‘Get the hippo’s out of the township.’ “And” says Gugile, “We have not seen a hippo since then.”

Gugile was also set free. Three hours after he went home, a white businessman, Mr Sparg, came to his house. He asked Gugile to call off the boycott. Gugile tried to tell him that he could not call off the boycott — he only came out of jail that day.

Later Gugile went to a funeral. People at the funeral wanted to talk about the boycott. They were suffering because the shops in the township were so expensive. People agreed to stop boycotting — but only Mr Sparg’s shop.

A VISIT FROM THE POLICE

A few days later, the police came to Guguile’s house while he was out. When Gugile and his wife heard about their visit, they were worried — was Gugile going to jail again? But Gugile got a big surprise. The police brought a message for him. The magistrate wanted to see Gugile the next day at nine o’clock. The magistrate told Gugile that the businessmen of Port Alfred wanted to have a meeting. They wanted to talk about the boycott.

 INKWENKWEZI TALKS OUT

Gugile went home with the news. Quickly a mass meeting was organised. More than six thousand people came. They drew up a list of what they wanted. This is what the list said.

  • The Administration Board must get out of Inkwenkwezi
  • The Development Board must buy the beerhall and give it to the community to use
  • They wanted a new school
  • No more separate doors for blacks and whites at the shops
  • Unpaid rent must be forgotten
  • Troops must get out of the township
  • There must be one town council chosen by the people of Inkwenkwezi and Port Alfred.

 PORT ALFRED ANSWERS

People were chosen to meet the businessmen. They gave the businessmen the list. The businessmen studied the list for half an hour. Then they came back. The businessmen said they would help where they could. They said the signs on the shop doors would go. They would get the beer-hall for the Inkwenkwezi people to use. They said they would try to make more jobs for people and they would try to change the way whites treated blacks in Port Alfred.

The businessmen said they would speak to the government about a new school and the unpaid rent. But most important, they agreed that Port Alfred need one town council for everyone. And until then there was one town council, the town council of Port Alfred was going to help run the township. They want to build more houses and some factories there. And so the boycott was lifted.

 NEW COMMITTEES FOR INKWENKWEZI

In Inkwenkwezi people got ready to run the township themselves. Today there is a street committee in every street. Five streets make up an area and every area has an area committee. People in the street choose the street committee but the area committees are chosen by the central committee. If there is a problem, people go to their street committee. The chairperson of the street committee calls a meeting for everyone in the street. The street meeting decides who must settle the problem.

If it is a family problem, the area committee tries to settle it. Gugile says, “Family problems often need understanding that young people do not have. There are only older people on the area committees.”

CATCHING THEM YOUNG

The beer-hall is now the centre of the community. The owner now rents the beer-hall to the community for R40 per month. Everyone pays 20c a month for the rent and electricity.

 The Port Alfred Residents Civic Organisation use the beer-hall for a creche and a pre-primary school there. “This is real people’s education,” says Gugile. “You must catch children when they are young. But we also want to use the beer-hall for an advice and resource centre.”

EVERYONE IS BUSY

But it is not only the people in the township who are busy. The businessmen of Port Alfred sent people to speak to the Administration Board. They want to buy some land near Inkwenkwezi. They want to build more houses and some factories there. The businessmen went to the Small Business Development Corporation to get money for these factories. They sent people to the DET and now a new school is being built. They asked the Group Areas Board to make the shopping area of Port Alfred a place where anyone can have a shop — no matter what colour they are.

Both the people of Inkwenkwezi and the businessmen of Port Alfred know that they have put one foot on a new road. But they do not know where that road will take them. They hope it will be to something new, something good for everyone. Gugile said one thing he wants everyone to hear. He said, “South Africa is a very dangerous place. To live in South Africa today, it does not help to be brave. People must learn to be wise —as wise as snakes. When we march to freedom, we want to march with as many people as we can.” •

The hottest stix in town

Untitled0-13About twenty years ago, Orlando West High School needed money. The principal told the students to give a concert. But the school had no money to pay for a band. So some students said that they would play at the concert.

Two guys from another school Madibane High School, came to play. Their names were Selby Ntuli and Alec Khaoli They both played guitars. But the drummer was from Orlando West. His name — Sipho Mabuse.

JUST ANOTHER BAND

“People really liked us,” says Sipho. “So we decided to start our own band. Then Selby’s brother asked us to join his group, the Beatersjnstead. We used to play at Mofolo Hall.

“We wrote all our own music and in 1969 we made a record, ‘Solo Golo’. But people liked Mbaqanga in those days and ‘Solo Golo’ did not sell well then. But a few years later, people went mad for ‘Solo Golo’ and the Beaters became famous.

HURRAH FOR HARARI

“We went on tour. We went to Zimbabwe and we played at a place called Harari. We really liked the name. It means ‘he who does not sleep, he who is busy’. We liked it so much that we decided to change our name and call ouselves “Harari.”

But in 1978, something bad happened. The leader of Harari, Selby Ntuli died in his sleep. It was a big loss for Harari. But Harari made Sipho their leader.

Selby’s death did not stop Harari’s fans. Harari went on to make it big. They made 10 records before the band broke up 2 years ago.

Alec ‘Oom’ Khaoli left Harari and started his own group, ‘Umoja’. And Sipho Mabuse decided to go it alone.

Sipho said, “A lot of musicians left Harari. They thought I was too strict. When musicians become famous, they forget their fans. They become careless. They come to concerts late — or drunk.”

WRITING SONGS

Sipho told us about his hit, ‘Burnout’. “One day I was sitting around when I heard some nice sounds in my head. In less than 5 minutes, the whole song was playing in my head. Then I wrote it own. It was the easiest song I have ever written.

“I like my songs to have a message in them. My best song is ‘Let’s get it on’. Many people think that it is a love song. But the message in that song is that people must love each other and work together for their rights.”

Untitled0-14THE MUSIC WORLD

“To be a musician in South Africa is no joke,” says Sipho. “Sometimes the record companies treat us badly. Take our record ‘Solo Golo’ for example. We did not get one cent for it. I think we need a union, just like other workers. But most musicians are scared. They think if we start a union, the record companies will not record their songs.

“Another problem is our newspapers and magazines. They only write about overseas musicians. And white radio stations only play overseas music. Yet our musicians are very good. Look at people like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie.

MUSICIANS JOIN THE FIGHT

“At the begining of this year, people said they were organising concerts and parties for Jo’burg’s 100th birthday. They wanted musicians to come and play.

“hen I heard this, I asked myself “What does this mean to black people?” It was at the time of the ’emergency’. It was no time for parties. I talked to Jonny Clegg of Juluka. He agreed with me. We spoke to other musicians like Stimela, Alec Khaoli
and Bre/ida Fassie. We all got together and made a list of demands.

“We said that the government must lift the state of emergency, they must free all the leaders in jail, and they must let all South Africans outside South Africa come home.”

CONCERTS IN THE PARK

Sometimes Sipho helps poor people. Last year there was a big concert at Ellis Park — the ‘Concert in the Park’. The musicians played for nothing, and all the money went to Operation Hunger — to buy food for all the hungry people.

This year, there was another concert at Ellis Park. This time the money from the concert went to the people who organised it. Sipho did not like this. So he told the organisers that they must pay him 12 thousand rands. He thought they would say no. But they agreed to pay him so he played.

SIPHO’S FAVOURITES

When Sipho is not making music, he likes to go to night clubs. He also likes to watch his favourite soccer team, Kaizer Chiefs.

“I like ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe of Chiefs. But I also like ‘Jomo’ Sono of Cosmos and Ernest Chirwali of Bloemfontein Celtics.

“I also spend a lot of time listening to music. Sometimes I listen to my own records. Otherwise I like Stevie Wonder and Dollar Brand. I also like a guy called Sting.

We asked Sipho what makes people like his music. Sipho said, “My music speaks for itself. What I do, I do as an African. And so my music is African,” he answered. “The songs I write are about everyday life in South Africa. But the message can be understood by anyone, anywhere.”

We built this city-EGOLI

Untitled0-15This year Johannesburg is 100 years old. The Johannesburg City Council wanted people to come together for Jo’burg’s birthday. They started a committee called the Johannesburg centenary Festival Committee (JCFA).

The Festival Committee wanted to organise sports,games and musical shows. They wanted to have big birthday parties in the streets of Joburg. They even built a city called Gold Reef City, which looks like Jo’burg one hundred years ago.

TWO QUESTIONS

But other people were also thinking about Joburg’s birthday. They also started a committee for Joburg’s birthday. This committee is called Cosco — Community Support Committee.

Cosco had two questions about Jo’burg’s birthday. Their questions were, “What does Joburg mean to most people? and “What is the City Council going to do with all the money they make?”

TWO ANSWERS

Cosco said that many businessmen had made a lot of money out of Joburg and the mines. But for most people Joburg is a hard place to live in and to work in. Wages are bad and houses are small, people are arrested, children are shot. Can people have a party about these things — no, they said, use the money for everyone. They hoped to get more than a hundred million rands. But only R6 million was going to be used in the townships — the rest was for “white” Joburg.

COSCO STARTS TALKING

“We spoke to many people,” said Cosco. “We spoke to unions like Azactu, Cusa and Cosatu. We spoke to sports organisations like the National Soccer League (NSL),NationaL Professional Soccer League (NPSL), South African Council of Sport (SACOS), boxers and other sports people.

“We also spoke to the Soweto Chamber of Commerce, churches, teachers, welfare organisations, students and many others. Everyone agreed with us — there was nothing to have a party about.

ARTISTS UNITED AGAINST APARTHEiD

“We spoke to musicians. We went to see them one by one. The first person we spoke to was Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, then Mara Louw and a few others. They told us to leave it to them.

“They had a meeting and they decided to call themselves “Artists United Against Apartheid.” They wanted to show the people that musicians and artists are not with Jo’burg’s birthday.

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NO POLITICS PLEASE

The Festival Committee was very upset when they heard that Cosco wanted people to boycott Jo’burg’s birthday.They said, “We are not interested in politics. We only want people to have a good time.

“Companies like Anglo American promised us nearly 140 million rand. We were going to use that money to make Jo’burg a better place. We wanted to start 15 projects for Soweto and Alexandra.

“But now groups like Cosco stopped us. They wanted to boycott everything to do with Jo’burg’s birthday. They also said they will punish any firm that gives us money.”

COSCO WILL TELL

Cosco says they did not stop any company. “The companies came to us,” said a spokesperson from Cosco. “We told them that they can give so much money to Joburg’s birthday but they still pay their workers badly. We told them if they give money to the Festival Committee, we will tell our people about it.”

After this, the Rand Show and Gold Reef City quickly said “We are not part of Joburg’s birthday.” They did not want to be boycotted. Many big companies also decided not to give money. Joburg’s 100 birthday candles were quickly blown out.

HURTING PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP

The Festival Committee also said we were hurting people who needed help.” say Cosco. “But we spoke to the people that the Festival Committee promised money.

“One group is an organisation for blind people in Soweto. The Festival Committee said they would give them one million rands — if they went on TV. These people came to Cosco and we spoke about it. Then they went back and said no to the Festival Committee. “The Festival Committee also promised money to the Self Help Association for Paraplegics (SHAP).

They also said, “No, thank you”. Then the Festival Committee told the newspapers that we stopped the cripples and the blind from getting money. But we did not do this — it was the blind and the cripples themselves who said no.”

MONEY FOR THE PEOPLE

The Festival Committee told Learn and Teach, “We will give the money for the townships to Cosco or to anybody who wants it. They must talk to the companies who are giving the money. They must see that the projects get the money — not as part of Joburg’s birthday but as projects of the big companies.”

“If the Festival Committee wants to give the money to us, they must give it,” say Cosco. “We will give it to the people. Then the people can choose how to spend the money. As far as we can see people need homes — not parks and sports stadiums like the Festival Committee wants to build.” Maybe the Festival Committee will learn from COSCO. If the Festival Committee spoke to the people and not for them, then the people of Egoli will be happy — and Egoli will be a better place for everyone to live and work in.

Beyers Naude, a man of God

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Thousands of people were at the funeral. The sun was very hot. People sweated as they listened to the speakers. There were a group of young boys and girls wearing ANC colours. They were singing freedom songs.

Then a white man in a safari suit stood up and went to the stage. Everybody was very quiet and listened. His name is Rev. Beyers Naude. He is the secretary of the South African Council of Churches.

A few days after the funeral we spoke to Beyers and asked him to tell us his story.

EARLY LIFE

“I grew up in Graaff-Reinet. I went to school there. In 1932,1 went to study at the University of Stellenbosch. I studied for a Bachelors and a Masters degree there. I went on to study religion. Then I joined the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk — the Dutch Reformed Church. My parents were very proud of me.

“In 1940,1 started to preach all over the country. Then in 1949,1 was sent to the University of Pretoria. I was the priest for the students at the university.

APARTHEID — GOOD OR BAD?

“At the same time my church wanted me to study the bible. They wanted me to find parts in the bible that say apartheid is right. I read and I read — for nearly ten years. But I could not find what the church was looking for.

“But all my reading made me think. I began to see that apartheid was a bad thing. But I did not want to write this. I thought I would make the people of my church very angry.

LEARNING FROM THE PEOPLE

“In 1958,1 became a member of the main committee of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Transvaal. There I met young white priests who worked in black and ‘coloured’ townships. They told me that apartheid made their work difficult.

“I had never been to a township before so I did not believe them. But I wanted to go and see for myself. So I went to visit these priests at their churches. Sorne of them worked in mine compounds. I was shocked when I saw how the black miners lived.

“When I visited the priests in the townships, I spoke to the people there. Parents were unhappy about their children’s schooling. And many people said they could not get jobs because of their colour.

SHARPEVILLE

“These visits, together with my reading made me think hard. Then in 1961 many people were shot in Sharpeville. I was working in Northcliff at the time.

“The World Council of Churches asked eight churches to find out what happened in Sharpeville. The Dutch Reformed Church was one of these churches. And I was one of their representatives. Most of these eight churches did not like apartheid.

“We had a big meeting to talk about Sharpeville. People blamed apartheid for the shootings. The Dutch Reformed Church did not like what they said. So they left the World Council of Churches.

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Beyers’ family was proud of him then — and now.

THE CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE

“In 19631 joined a group called the Christian Institute. I was the director. The Christian Institute believed that all people were the same — no matter what colour their skin.

“The Dutch Reformed Church did not like the Institute because of this. They also didn’t like it because some of the Institute’s members were Roman Catholics. They told their members not to join the Christian Institute — and they fired me. Today I belong to the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa.

“I was the director of the Christian Institute for 14 years. We worked with groups like the Black People’s Congress, the Black Convention Party and black students. Sometimes we spoke at meetings of these organisations.

BANNED

“On the 19 October 1977 one of my friends phoned me early in the morning. He said the police were searching his house. I rushed to our offices. There were cops everywhere. They left the office after four hours.

“Before they left, they gave me two letters. One said that the Christian Institute was banned forever. The other letter said I was banned for five years. I was not the only person at the Institute to be banned. Four other people also got banning orders.

“There is one thing I want to say about my family. My children were at Afrikaans schools. They had a hard time. My wife also suffered. We lost many of our Afrikaans friends. But my family stood by me. They helped me with their love and support.

THE BROEDERBOND

Untitled0-19”I was a member of the Broederbond from 1940 to 1963. The Broederbond was a secret society for Afrikaners. They helped Afrikaners to get powerful jobs in the government, in newspapers,all over. I left them because I did not like what they did. So they said I was a sellout and a communist.

“But I think Afrikaners must come out of their ‘laager’. They can also help to kill apartheid. This is what I told my friend, Breyten Breytenbach, the poet. I said he must leave France and come back home. He must help Afrikaners fight apartheid.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

“In October 1984, the secretary of the South African Council of Churches, Bishop Tutu,was made the Bishop of Johannesburg. The SACC needed another secretary. But priests did not want to leave their churches for the job. So the SACC asked me to be secretary for two years.

“The SACC helps people who are suffering because of apartheid. We give bursaries to students. We also work with problems in the church, problems people have at home and
with their families. We have 15 offices around the country. My job here is to see that everything goes smoothly.”

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LOVE AND HATE

Beyers is not only loved and respected in South Africa. A university in Holland and one in America have given Beyers honorary degrees to show their respect. So today Beyers is called a doctor.

When Learn and Teach left Beyers, we shook his hand. We felt his warmth and his strength. He has seen many bad things in his life but he is still a man of peace and love. He has been hated and banned. But he has never stopped doing what he knows is right.