Who is Hector Patterson and why is he still famous?
The incident in which 566 students were shot dead in one day 47 years ago will never be forgotten by South Africa.
The symbolic depiction of his last moments after the murder of 12-year-old Hector Patterson by police is reminiscent of our past and the profound systematic decline of black citizens and students in South Africa. Patterson was born on the same day in 1963, 46 years ago, when a young boy got up and started dressing for school. This will not be an ordinary training day. President: Nico Dietrich and Prime Minister: John Vorster on the one hand imposed Afrikaans as a tool in all schools, regardless of the language spoken and understood by students.
Undoubtedly, this action aims to further break the thinking of blacks who have already been separated from the upper class of South Africa, excluded from the official economy and only allowed the formation of a gang. During band training, black generations will be taught only low-paid skills, while in-depth courses will be available only to white students.
Today, this period is marked by transplant education, recognized by the government as discrimination and a decline of a certain group. On that unfortunate morning 47 years ago, Peterson protested that he had been forced to teach Afrikaans to other students.
Sam Nasima, a local newspaper reporter, recalled that it was a peaceful demonstration and that armed police had broken into the children and ordered them to disperse. The children began to sing the poem Nkosi Sikelele iAfrica, which became the national anthem of South Africa.
But racist guardians believed that children read poetry as a brutal rebellion against the government, and retaliated by committing the most shameful, hateful and illegal acts in our shameful history. At least 566 people have been killed in police shootings by unarmed children, mostly young children.
Patterson became the face of the Soto uprising in 1976 when a student of Mabuisa Mahubo caught a teenage boy who was shot dead by police and fled. The horror etched on their faces was filmed in Nzima’s film and released as proof of our national humiliation during one of the most horrific police raids against our young citizens across the world.
“I saw the child fall. I rushed in the rain of the bullets and went to shoot. The march was slow, the children were ordered to separate, and they began to sing to Nkosi Sikelele. “The police ordered the shooting.” -Kisro Nisima
The autopsy showed Peterson was injured directly, not a bullet that fell to the ground, police said. Another student, Hastings Andrews, was probably the first to be shot dead by police that day.
June 16 has been an official holiday in South Africa since 1994, known as Youth Day. In the 1990s, the Peterson Memorial in Orlando, Swotto, two blocks away, was demolished.
Then, in 2002, the Hector Patterson Museum opened behind the monument.