A short distance from the location where 12-year-old Hector Pieterson was shot on June 16, 1976, during the Soweto uprising, which is now a symbol of resistance to the cruelty of the apartheid government, the Hector Pieterson Memorial and museum opened in Soweto in 2002. South of Johannesburg is the city of Soweto, which was created as a township specifically for black people during apartheid. The Hector Pieterson Museum is a stop on many trips through the area, and it is home to almost two million people in dwellings that range from modest hovels to opulent mansions.
Schoolchildren had assembled on June 16, the day Hector was slain, to oppose the need that Afrikaans be taught in township schools. The police opened fire as youngsters started singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and before they could be dispersed, according to conflicting versions of who really issued the order to shoot first. The chaos that followed claimed the lives of about 20 kids.
Hector Pieterson has gained notoriety as a symbol of that fateful day largely because of a photograph taken of him by Sam Nzima, who was working at the time for The World newspaper in Johannesburg. In the photograph, Hector is being carried by a fellow student as his sister stands next to him with her hands out in fear. National Youth Day, which honours youth, is today, June 16, 2018.
Hector Pieterson’s memorial plaque has been continuously destroyed since it was put up, unfortunately, it seems by kids who don’t comprehend the significance or significant historical consequences of the memorial.
Hector’s surname has been spelt Peterson and Pieterson in the press since June 1976, but the family argues that Pieterson is the proper spelling. The Pieterson family was previously known as the Pitso family, but they made the decision to change their last name to Pieterson to try to pass as “Coloured” (the apartheid era term for individuals of mixed race), as they had slightly greater privileges than blacks did.
Best Time To Visit
- Monday to Saturday from 10h00 to 17h00
- Sunday from 10h00 to 16h30
- Closed on Christmas Day and the Day of Goodwill
- Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial, 8287 Khumalo Street, Orlando West, Soweto, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa