From the ed­i­tor’s desk

Public Sector Manager - - Editor’s Note -

There are images that ex­ist which dom­i­nate the strug­gle to over­come apartheid and none more so than 12-year-old Hec­tor Pi­eter­son be­ing car­ried away by Mbuy­isa Makhubu from a po­lice shoot­ing in­ci­dent in Soweto on 16 June 1976.

Hec­tor by all ac­counts was a calm sweet child who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was not the only child shot that day. The first to die was Hast­ings Ndlovu. When the June 16 up­ris­ing had abated, scores of chil­dren and young teens had per­ished at the hands of apartheid po­lice.

Thou­sands more were in detention and many of them were tor­tured.

The story went global and partly be­cause of the shock­ing na­ture of that pho­to­graph.

How­ever, at the core is a story of a fam­ily who lost a loved one in the midst of a na­tion in cri­sis.

Hec­tor's sis­ter An­toinette Sithole is proud of his stand but misses her lit­tle brother ev­ery day.

In­ter­viewed in 2016 she ex­plained that Hec­tor was a quiet boy who just got caught up in the march and ended up pay­ing with his life.

Hec­tor and Hast­ings were joined on the streets in 1976 by Cyril Ramaphosa, Mur­phy Morobe, Popo Molefe, Seth Maz­ibuko and tens of thou­sands of oth­ers. Many young­sters joined the mil­i­tary wings of the Pan African­ist Con­gress and the African Na­tional Con­gress, leav­ing the coun­try only to re­turn as cadres fight­ing se­cu­rity forces.

One of those who left was the man who car­ried Hec­tor, the then 18-year-old Makhubu. A doc­u­men­tary made in 1998 by Feizel Mam­doo fea­tures Mbuy­isa's late mother who handed him R10 af­ter he said he wanted to find a job in Dur­ban af­ter the up­ris­ings be­gan. He used the money to travel to Botswana in­stead, then Nige­ria.

The last known mes­sage Mbuy­isa sent to his mother was via the Red Cross in Nige­ria in 1978. Un­for­tu­nately, all went quiet and his mother died in 2002 never know­ing what hap­pened to her son. We still do not know.

It is th­ese sto­ries of our his­tory that we should re­call on 16 June. The suf­fer­ing caused by the scourge we know as apartheid crossed fron­tiers and re­mains etched in our mem­o­ries to this day. While some things are cut and dried, oth­ers re­main mys­te­ri­ous and un­solved.

If you take a closer look at present South Africa, you re­alise that one of the over­rid­ing signs of change in our na­tion is a youth cul­ture that is both in­tro­spec­tive and mar­ketable glob­ally.The youth gen­er­ate dy­namic art, fash­ion and mu­sic, with in­cred­i­ble de­signs em­a­nat­ing from the south­ern tip of Africa mak­ing their way into the world.This is a sign of hope.

That our young­sters con­tinue to lead us into a new day and prompt the na­tion through en­ergy and ac­tion must be wel­comed. We may men­tor our young­sters but must also ac­cept that through their ur­gent and di­rect ac­tion change takes place.

It has hap­pened in the past and will hap­pen in the fu­ture.

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