Did you know?
Hastings Ndlovu, a Soweto student leader, was the first person killed in the Soweto Uprising.
The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto is a short distance from where police opened fire on students on 16 June 1976 during a protest against the introduction of Afrikaans as a language of instruction in township schools.
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 Pieterson joined a group of several thousand scholars.
After a brief standoff, police opened fire and the photograph of a dying Hector Pieterson, cradled in the arms of a fellow student with his terrified sister running beside them, flashed around the world. This image, taken by news photographer Sam Nzima, became a symbol of the resistance against apartheid. Today, June 16 is commemorated as Youth Day in South Africa.
Events of that fateful day are remembered at the Hector Pieterson Museum, the premier heritage site in Soweto. Situated in Orlando West on Khumalo Street, it is a two-storey red brick building with a Hector Pieterson 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 events of that day as they unfolded 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
Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum
Tel: +27 (0)11 536 0611
How to get here
The Hector Pieterson Museum is in Soweto and easily accessible by car. There are taxis, buses and trains operating in the area.
Best time to visit
The Hector Pieterson Museum is open daily between 10am and 5pm.
Around the area
Close by is the famous Vilakazi Street that was once home to both former president Nelson Mandela and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, both Nobel peace prize winners.
Tours to do
A tour of Soweto is a must.
What will it cost
Entrance to the museum is free of charge.
Length of stay
No more than half a day; or a full day to fully explore the surrounding area.
Where to stay
Soweto has various accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes. There is also plenty more options in the greater Johannesburg area.
What to eat
Soweto has many restaurants that cater for a variety of culinary tastes. However, do try some of the delicious traditional African food on offer, such as tripe, mogodu (wild spinach), pap (maize porridge) or samp and beans.
The souvenir shop has history books, photographs, and arts and crafts on sale.