2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Race, Riots and Redemption: An Examination of the 1976 Soweto Protests and the Social Atmosphere in Apartheid-Era South Africa That Sparked Them
Kyle Magee
Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentor

When H. W. Verwoed inked Apartheid into effect after the 1948 elections, he set into motion a series of events marked by oppressive, racist legislation segregating South Africa, forcing the black majority into unwelcoming living quarters, sparking an underground movement empowering citizens towards equality inspired by grassroots folklore and penny-whistle-based song. On June 16, 1976, at the turning-point of repression, black students opposing the Afrikaans-language school takeover flooded the streets of Soweto, met by a fatal display of police aggression, igniting a trail of anti-Apartheid protests culminating in freedom-fighter and future president Nelson Mandela's release from solitude on Robben Island in 1990. This unique discussion examines the social circumstances surrounding the 1976 riots and the implications of the cultural change expressed through music of influential protest singers like Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Johnny Clegg, which invoked a sense of pride and dignity into the hearts of all South Africans.

Keywords: political protest, South Africa, music, 1976 Soweto protests, Apartheid, Miriam Makeba, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela

Topic(s):African Studies
Music
Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 48-3
Location: OP 2111
Time: 3:15

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