David Kutumela's Testimony

This is an extract from David Kutumela's testimony to the Cillié Commission of inquiry into the June 1976 uprising.

"Tsietsi had told us that an Action Committee meeting would be held on the 15th June 1976, at DOCC at 14h00, and so I went to the meeting. Tsietsi told us that we would all have to gather at Orlando West grounds at about 12h00 on the 15th June 1976, and he would then further tell us what further steps to take about the issue of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. Tsietsi was very militant in his speech when he said we must fight back for our rights, because if we did not want Afrikaans, we did not want it. He further said, stressing his words by banging the table with his clenched fist, when confronted by the police we must use stones because they were not bought but were everywhere, so we must use them. He went on to say he was aware that some of the parents were policemen, so the police were already informed and would try to stop us but he would address the students whether they were police that day or not. He quoted from a poem by William Wordsworth [actually the poem is Lord Alfred Tennyson's] called Charge of the Light Brigade and he used words like 'Forward to the valley of death'."

- Wits Historical Papers: Karis-Gerhart Collection, Political Documents, A2675: Folder 799, pp4 961-4 962

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"I, Tsietsi Mashinini, appeal to students to report back to school."
Tsietsi Mashinini, 1976
Picture © British Thames Television


In this lesson plan, learners are asked to think about how the different people in their lives would describe them. They are asked to reflect if they think that their caregiver or teacher would say the same things about them as their best friend. They will apply their insights on differing perspectives to historical sources such as newspapers and letters.

Lesson plan
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Five views of the Tsietsi Mashinini memorial
The concept for the memorial
Johannes Phokela discusses the development of his concept for the memorial to Tsietsi Mashinini
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