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June 16 1976, Soweto uprising
Today, the 16th of June 2016, marks 40 years anniversary of Soweto uprising commonly known as June 16. As we commemorate this day we remember a group of high school learners from Sir Isaac Morrison who embarked on a protest against the Afrikaans medium decree in South African schools despite the fact that Afrikaner people represented a tiny minority in the country.
This group of fearless youth taught us that injustices must not be tolerated, and that we must continue to fight against all the forces which discriminate against us on the basis of our skin colour, religion and gender, inter alia.
The National Trade Union Congress of South Africa (NTUC) is inspired by the unity, strength, commitment, dedication, willingness to protect each other, resistance and determination of the 1976 youth, and we are aware that they were guided and inspired by Black Consciousness Movement leaders such as Steven Bantubonke Biko, Onkgopotse Tiro and many others, as well as Pan Africanist leaders such as Robert Sobukwe, Zephaniah Mothopeng and many others.
We remember Tsietsi Mashinini, Hector Peterson, Sibongile Mthembu Mkhabela, Attoinette Sithole, and many other fallen heroes and heroines who were killed in 1976, before and after.
It follows from this that we, today’s youth, must follow a particular school or schools of thoughts in addition to drawing inspiration from those who came before us.
NTUC also note that the 1976 struggle was not a mutually exclusive struggle, but it co-existed with several other struggles such as landlessness, lack of economic power, poverty, systematic and institutional racism, racism in the social spaces and interpersonal racism to name a few, and all these struggles started in 1652 with the arrival of white settlers on our land who violently dispossessed black people from their land and defined them outside of humanity.
This dispossession has created two societies in one country, one black and poor, and the other white and rich, and it has conditioned black people to see themselves as inferior and whites as superior, among others.
Another struggle which followed the illegal dispossession of black people from their land was exploitation of the working class, and all struggles mentioned above are still in existence in the current so called democratic dispensation.
The land and the wealth of our nation, South Africa, are still largely concentrated in the hands of the white minority, while millions of black people are still landless, poor, miseducated, unemployed, exploited, discriminated against and all sorts of bad things, yet we are told apartheid was defeated.
Recently, we saw the Black students activists class of 2015 such as those in Rhodes Must Fall, Fees Must Fall and Outsourcing Must Fall movements been intimidated with police brutality and are currently being tortured with unending suspensions and court interdicts inter alia with the intentions of instilling fear in all those who might want to pursue a similar struggle.
The Marikana mine workers were murdered for demanding a living wage of R12 500, while many young people, skilled and unskilled, qualified or unqualified, are either unemployed or employed as cheap and easily disposable labour.
There is still no minimum wage which can allow poor black masses to become active participants in the economy, but the economic control and ownership still reflects the apartheid system.
There are no rapid career paths for most black people in the workplaces, but white people easily climb the career ladder because the system was designed to suit them and nobody else.
Majority of black people working in retail stores, domestic workers, petrol attendants, security guards and more are still outsourced and this results in low salaries, infringed benefits and unfair labour practices, but the government of the day speaks highly of this unjust freedom and it even spread the rhetoric that the ruling party was in the forefront of June 16 Soweto uprising.
All this happens in the watchful eyes of the biggest labour federation in South Africa called COSATU, which speaks radical language in front of workers, but eats dinner with white monopoly capital and the ruling elites in closed doors.
It is quite prudent that the post 1994 dispensation produced thugs who are continuing the legacy of apartheid by enriching themselves at a just and equitable expense of the poor black people.
The workers have nobody else to liberate them but themselves.
We urge all workers who are tired of politicians and their friends in the sell-out unions to come to the only non-partisan and revolutionary union in South Africa, NTUC.
Issued by NTUC, THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE!