Fanyana Mazibuko's testimony to the TRC

During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings on human rights violations that took place in Soweto in July 1996, Fanyana Mazibuko, Tsietsi Mashinini’s former science teacher, recounted the situation at Morris Isaacson High School before June 16.

What follows are a selection of extracts from Fanyana Mazibuko's testimony.

"Morris Isaacson was a highly disciplined school, almost military in its discipline. The other side of Morris Isaacson is that it was politically aware. In my arrival at Morris Isaacson, a number of things happened which indicated this. Examples of this political awareness and the leadership of the principal as a politically aware person is firstly the [Abram] Tiro case. In the Tiro case the principal decided to employ a person who had been expelled from a university... against the wishes of the Department of Education. And secondly there was the allowing by the principal of the formation of several organisations on the premises, including, for example, the formation of the organisation, which was first called the Azanian People's Writers Association, which was initially AZAPWA, but later changed to Medupi Writer's Association. And also the principal was not easily compliant with instructions from the Department, example, when we were instructed to teach in Afrikaans he invited the Inspector who was giving this instruction, and he told him it will not be done..."


"And again there was a special relationship between teachers and students. I want to refer specifically to Tsietsi Mashinini himself. Tsietsi lived to the north of where I lived and had a friend who lived to the south of where I lived, and in a day they would pass twice or thrice where I lived, and occasionally they would find me doing garden and they would join me, and the discussion would start with academic work and it would end with political discussion. That was the environment in which Tsietsi Mashinini went to school. He was my student. I was his physical science teacher. He was not bad at physical science but loved more the languages and other social sciences."

- To read the full transcript, go to: <>

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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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Archive Photo Gallery
Images from the short life of Tsietsi Mashinini.
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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
Take a 360º tour of Mashinini's memorial opposite his former high school on Mputhi Street, Soweto.
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