Apartheid Museum

The Significance of 1976

16 June 1976 was a major turning point in South African history. The protests by Soweto school children on that day marked the end of submissiveness on the part of the black population of South Africa and the beginning of a new militancy in the struggle against apartheid.

South Africa would never be the same again. From June 16 1976 onwards, South Africa's youth took centre stage. They would remain in the forefront of resistance to apartheid, alongside an increasingly powerful trade union movement, until the unbanning of political organisations in South Africa in February 1990.

Quick Facts

  • On 16 June 1976 Soweto students marched peacefully to demonstrate against the introduction of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black schools.
  • The protests spread quickly to many other parts of the country.
  • Close to 1000 students were killed in confrontations with the police.
  • 1976 Sign