The Hector Peterson Museum
Did you know?
Hastings Ndlovu, a Soweto student leader, was the first person killed in the Soweto Uprising.
The Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto is a short way from where police opened fire on students on 16 June 1976.
Soon after coming to power in 1948, the National Party introduced Bantu Education, which was appallingly sub-standard. Black children, however, flocked to schools as they had a motive transcending education - the opportunity to share ideas for liberation.
These hot ideas were inflamed by the authorities' misguided attempts to make it compulsory for black schools to teach half the subjects in Afrikaans - an issue that was to mobilise decisive resistance. On the morning of Wednesday, 16 June, scholars in Soweto assembled in school grounds before beginning their march to Orlando Stadium where a protest against Afrikaans was to be held.
On the way, not far from Phefeni Junior Secondary School on Vilikazi Street, schoolboy Hector Peterson joined a group of several thousand scholars. After a brief standoff, police opened fire on them, killing him. All hell broke loose, unleashing the Soweto Uprising. It was the single most important moment in South African history as it effectively killed the dream of grand apartheid.
Events of that fateful day are remembered at the Hector Peterson Museum, the premier heritage site in Soweto. Situated in Orlando West on Khumalo Street, a short way from where the shootings took place, it is a two-storey red brick building with a Hector Peterson memorial on the grounds.
Inside, opposite the bookshop, is a garden of remembrance with the names of all those who died in the uprising inscribed on loose bricks. On the walls of this museum in Soweto are enlarged photographs of the unfolding events with extensive commentary together with audio-visual presentations.
From this Soweto museum it is a short walk along a tree-lined avenue to the fine restaurants and Mandela House national heritage site on Vilikazi Street.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
For further information contact the Hector Peterson Memorial and Museum on +27 (0) 11 536 0611.
To organise a tour of Soweto, visit the Soweto Tours website at www.soweto.co.za.