“I Saw a Nightmare…”
Doing Violence to Memory: The Soweto Uprising, June 16, 1976
by Helena Pohlandt-McCormick

Chapter 1


"The Child Is Also Wondering What Happened to the Father"

Historiography of Soweto / Literature Review

The City

Related link:
Chapter 5, Section 2: "Precipitating Factor?—Analysis of the Literature"
I began this work with a reading of the literature on Soweto and on the uprising, looking for the definitive, public, published and authoritative version of the story. The sparse literature on Soweto before the uprising (Edelstein 1971) is largely descriptive, although Hellmann (1971) clearly foresaw the ominous developments among a generation of youth with few opportunities. Hellmann's account is marked perhaps most clearly by her view of Soweto as something "strange" within the city of Johannesburg—a perspective bias that gave away her own position on the outside and left little room for an inside view of Soweto more true to the perspective of its residents. More revealing in this aspect are the voices of Africans themselves (Sikakane 1977, Hermer/Tholo 1980).

In the introduction to Hungry Flames and Other Black South African Short Stories, Mbulelo Mzamane commented that his short story "The Day of the Riots" was "written to preserve the memory of the events of 16 June 1976, as seen from the inside [my emphasis]." Reproaching those writers who have distorted history because their "interests are often diametrically opposed to those of the community they describe" and who, as a consequence, "impose a world-view that is alien to the people whose lives they seek to portray," he called on the creative writer to "combine the functions of his craft with those of the historian and, both as creator and historical witness, to reveal more than the historian's selective 'truth'" [my emphasis].37 His is a story that tries to give a sense of "what it felt like to be one of those involved or caught up in the crisis." I will not settle for the dichotomy whereby historians either lack creativity or distort stories so as to make them fit their worldview. Mzamane's challenge lent further weight to my own sense that it was important to change the point of view, to get inside the stories, and to change the conceptual perspective of analysis to reveal something of the experiences relevant to the people whose lives stood at the center of the uprising.


The Uprising

Related essay:
Soweto: History, Geography, Society
Much has been eloquently written about the Soweto uprising, but it is curious to note that, with the exception of Brewer (1986), all of the book-length treatments (Kane-Berman 1978, Hirson 1979, Brooks and Brickhill 1980) of June 16, 1976, were written in the late 1970s. Since then, despite the historical prominence allocated it in terms of the trajectory of resistance that formally ended with the formation of the new predominantly black government under African National Congress leadership, and despite the fact that memories of the uprising loom large in people's consciousness, little that is comprehensive or analytical has been written about it. Certainly, the uprising's history has been given critical attention in the work of such authors as Gail Gerhart (1978 and 1997), Jeremy Seekings (1994), and Clive Glaser (2000), but frequently only in the form of a chapter or brief mention and then always as part of a larger resistance narrative, or else in works focused explicitly on the later youth movements and school boycotts of the mid-1980s (Bozzoli 2004) and 1990s (Marks 2001) or on the history of the township itself (Morris 1980, Gorodnov 1988, Bonner and Segal 1998). Only one recent publication of firsthand accounts (Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu's The Soweto Uprisings: Counter-memories of June 1976) seeks to fill that void and presents a small number of "counter-memories of June 1976" with a brief, but suggestive, historical analysis of the difference between how the uprising has been represented in public memory and how it is been remembered in Ndlovu's book by Paul Ndaba and Njabulo Nkonyane.


Since then, on the occasion of the twentieth and then twenty-fifth anniversary of the uprising, several new books have appeared that have refocused attention on the participants in the uprising (Brink et al. 2001; Mkhabela 2001; Hopkins and Grange 2001). Elsabé Brink comments that the people who took part in the uprising remained, in the standard historical works, "an amorphous mass or a general body of people generically referred to only as 'the student.'" Together with her coauthors and the thirty individuals whose stories were recorded in Recollected 25 Years Later: Soweto 16 June 1976, It All Started With a Dog … they make it their responsibility to render visible the faces in the crowds of Soweto and to make audible, for those who come after, the voices of those who were there.38 Similarly, in Open Earth and Black Roses, as far as I know the only book-length autobiographical account of the uprising to date, Mkhabela is compelled by a need to share her historical experiences with "the younger generation, my children, and yours."39

Hopkins and Granger in The Rocky Rioter Teargas Show also claim to present the inside story of the uprising, and they provide a fresh analysis and ask some of the same questions asked here: What was the role of the ANC? What was Winnie Mandela's role? The absence of cited historical sources and evidence and their unwillingness to engage with the earlier historical literature on Soweto makes it difficult, however, to fully track some of their arguments. For example, the authors conclude that Winnie Mandela's involvement with the planning and political action was "substantial" and that she challenged "student leaders to pick up the language issue as a rallying point." There is little doubt that the events of June 16 figuratively and possibly literally turned around Winnie Mandela. Related essay:
Winnie Mandela — Youth Leader?
But the evidence for the meeting they describe between student representatives and Winnie Mandela—at her house—comes largely from police records and must therefore be treated with utmost caution. Winnie Mandela's identity as an ANC figure or as a member of the internal underground wing is not unproblematic either.40

Only Ndlovu's Counter-memories, Mkhabela's Open Earth and Black Roses, Mzamane's, The Children of Soweto (1982), Sepamla's novel Ride on the Whirlwind (1981), and Magubane's collection of photographs, June 16: Fruit of Fear (1986), were exclusively by black authors, a fact whose implications for the production and practices of history still remain to be explored.

There are reasons for the way the uprising appears and disappears in the literature, as in the archive. Among them are the uncertainty of what happened, the ambivalence of those who remembered Soweto, and the contradictions that marked this uprising. It is perhaps best symbolized by the death of Dr. Melville Leonard Edelstein, a 56-year-old sociologist and chief welfare officer for the West Rand Bantu Administration Board. As an administrator of the West Rand Bantu Administration Board, Edelstein was a functionary of the apartheid system. He had warned that the hostility of township youth should be taken as a serious threat to peace in Soweto. Of the high-school students he interviewed during the research for his study "What Young Africans Think?" which was to gain him his master's degree (in sociology) in 1971, 73 percent listed inadequate political rights among their major grievances. Influx control, inadequate income, and inadequate educational facilities were the next three grievances on the list. On the morning of June 16, 1976, he was cornered at the Juvenile Employment Centre in White City by students who screamed at him and tore down the door to the office in which he had sought refuge:

Jou bleddie wit kaffir, vandag vrek jy.
You bloody white kaffir [nigger], today you are going to die [like an animal].41
What's this?

60 Dr. Edelstein was stoned to death. In this way, one of the few white South Africans sensitive to the adversities that the youth of Soweto faced, and whose work in the welfare offices placed him in close physical and social contact with black youth, ironically became their first victim.

Later they found Dr. Edelstein about 100 meters away. All around was an ocean of Black faces, yet there was hardly a sound.42

Ambiguity, ambivalence, and contradictions reverberate through the titles of some of those works that have taken on Soweto or made it a large part of their analysis. Thus Jeremy Seekings entitled his book on youth politics Heroes and Villains. Hirson uses Year of Fire, Year of Ash (1979) and prefaces his book with a poem, by Oupa Thando Mthimkulu, that ends with the same words.

Go nineteen seventy-six
We need you no more
Never come again
We ache inside.
Good friends we have
Nineteen seventy-six
You stand accused
of deaths
And detentions.
You lost the battle
You were not revolutionary
We do not boast about you
Year of fire, year of ash.43

In 1978, Kane-Berman wrote with frustrated disappointment, "Indeed, June 1976, like Sharpeville sixteen years before, was another turning point where South Africa did not turn." Almost twenty years later Gail Gerhardt described the uprising as having "left both sides with as many unresolved political dilemmas as before."44 Therefore, some of the works on Soweto did allude in their analysis to ambivalence and to the "mixed" impact of the uprising. In most cases, though, that literature tended to focus on the inexperience and gullibility of the student movements, with only brief mention of the ability of student leaders to change "tactics in an effort to sustain the protests, draw in adult participants, and respond to government repression" and despite admiration for their bravery and resourcefulness. Little if any attention was paid to the experience of this ambivalence, to the many adaptations and accommodations made by those who, in the face of pervasive repression, had initiated the first protests and then found themselves, perhaps unexpectedly, at the helm of a major protest movement.


Deep regret and frustration with what must have felt like the failure of the uprising, seemingly defeated by the violence of the apartheid government, are palpable in the early works on the uprising and give way, only in 2001, to the euphoric celebration of it as "the single most important moment in South African history."45 Nevertheless, the first questions that guided my research came out of these materials. Had Soweto really been the turning point for the liberation of South Africans? Was the imposition of Afrikaans in black classrooms the final straw, the primary reason behind student action? I was uncomfortable with the easy dismissal of Afrikaans as the cause of the uprising. Even in 1976 I thought that the students had a point. It was one that we—privileged white students in a German private school—recognized even in its diluted form. It resonated with our own dissatisfaction at the imposition of Afrikaans as a required third language in our curriculum. However underpoliticized, I recognized that students in Soweto did not have "the luxury of indecision."46

The relationships between the actual historical event, the evidence of it (collected and preserved in the archives), and the historical knowledge or memory produced about it are negotiated in a shifting terrain of power. Recent South African scholarship has questioned the way "alternative history" (as distinguished from colonial, liberal, or apartheid histories) reflects an effort to rewrite history by simply rereading the archives or by charging those other histories, and their evidentiary sources, with bias. In his work, Premesh Lalu urges an exploration of "the secrecy and uncertainty" in apartheid discourses and archives and a careful reconsideration of "the sites of production and the practices of history." Beyond the "technologies of evidence-gathering and surveillance" that determine the sites of production of history are language ("grammatical ordering" and the "deployment of … verbs and nouns"), representation (of perpetrators as victims, for example), and the transformation of assumptions into fact—all these are part of the practices of history.47

Doubt, ambiguity, suspicion, and uncertainty are everywhere in the archive, in the state's discourses and in many of the historical accounts that are based on those official documents and archives. They are certainly evidence of the limits of the state's knowledge, of the major break and challenge that the uprising represented not only to law and order but to its assumptions of control and superiority. At the heart of the state's uncertainty lay a profound paradox. Young black men and women had suddenly proved themselves to be capable of organized political action (i.e., agency). But they had always been understood to be objects of colonial rule, without any semblance of identity or agency. At first glance it seemed that the colonial text (archive, discourse of the state) attempted to deny students their capacity to act by insisting that they had been the puppets of outside instigators and (even communist) agitators. But the students in Soweto were simultaneously configured as capable of acts of resistance (violence). Though this possibility of agency was clothed in the language of delinquency and deviance, even this much, compromised agency, contradicted the notion that they remained objects of government control. The government therefore discursively undermined the validity, and thereby the actual reality, of their actions by casting the students as swept away by crowd dynamics and alcohol consumption (in all official autopsies, students' blood was tested for alcohol levels) rather than allowing that they had acted out of individual volition.

This "uncertainty" and ambivalence is common to the government (and its agents and institutions); the ANC, which was uncertain about its relationship with the Black Consciousness Movement and uncertain about its relationship and claims to the youth; and the participants themselves, although for very different reasons. (See Chapter 4: "The Participants") Since each of these "institutions" contributes to the making of the archive of historical evidence of Soweto, an analysis of their relationship to each other and to the way history is produced is necessary to a critical history of the uprising.


Black Consciousness

There has been a tendency in the literature to look at events in South Africa as discrete occurrences, so that it seemed at times as if the uprising appeared out of nowhere and as if there was almost no link between the death of Steve Biko in 1977 and the events in Soweto and everywhere the year before. The representation of the Soweto uprising as a turning point is a consequence of this. What is embedded in this historiographical concept of the turning point is a difficult debate about the meaning of the events in Soweto on June 16, 1976. This was an event whose violence took everyone by surprise, even if its coming was anticipated by some. It was an event—rather, a series of events—whose occurrence interrupted what had seemed like routine processes and developments. The trajectory of the central government toward increased segregation—through the creation of Homelands/Bantustans, with the consequence of depriving every black South African of citizenship in white areas, and therefore in South Africa—had seemed inexorable, unbroken, even relentless. Every turning point has a before and an after, most fiercely debated in the literature as causes and effects, or in terms of questions about reasons for the uprising and consequences or changes in its aftermath. Where the literature focused on the political processes and ideological debates of state and government, the preoccupation has been with the development of apartheid (Posel 1991) or the nature of the Afrikaner nation/state (O'Meara 1996). There is little doubt that something changed in the 1970s. In this period what had seemed like the apparent success of Grand Apartheid in the 1960s, with a booming economy, a beaten African opposition, and a quiescent population (whites content to uncritically enjoy the spoils of apartheid, and blacks struggling mutely to survive in the progressively harsher social and political climate) was shaken to the core. The 1980s saw the creation of a "total strategy" aimed at countering the real and perceived threat inside and outside of South Africa. This plan encompassed the militarization of South African society to contain the forces of liberation inside and outside of its borders and, simultaneously, some reforms, whose legitimacy and sincerity were quickly eroded by the continuation of the removal of Black Spots from communities that had been declared white and were exposed as last-ditch efforts to secure the status quo and white ascendancy.


The book Bounds of Possibility, dedicated to Black Consciousness and the legacy of Steve Biko, the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement who was murdered by the South African security police in 1977, is based on the clear premise that it was the Black Consciousness Movement that brought about the political revival of the 1970s "in the aftermath of the massive repression of the early 1960s."48 The product of a symposium in Harare in June 1990, it was self-consciously aware of the controversial legacy of Steve Biko. That legacy emerged most distressingly in the refusal of two important organizations to attend—the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA), based in Harare, and the Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO), based in South Africa. Their refusal made it impossible, as the editors put it, "to share a common memory of a fallen comrade."49 The authors, clearly stricken by this controversy at the time, criticized those—"persons and organizations seeing themselves as the natural heirs" and "some officials of both AZAPO and BCMA" [emphasis added]50—who attempted to appropriate Biko and Black Consciousness. In the inclusive spirit of the time (1990, the Mass Democratic Movement, United Democratic Front) they argued that "the legacy of Black Consciousness spans the whole political spectrum: ANC, PAC, Unity Movement, and many individuals not aligned to any particular political organization."51 But their censure of "those who have sought to deny Biko and Black Consciousness a significant place in the history of struggle for liberation in South Africa" was what caught my imagination and kept coming back to me as I did this research. The authors were certain that those who sought to detract from Biko's story had failed. While I am certain that their confidence will and should be rewarded in time, I found myself less certain that, along the way, certain authors and institutions as well as collective and official histories had not succeeded in either in deliberately denying or inadvertently diminishing the significance of Black Consciousness.

Among the questions that invite further investigation are historiographical ones (How do Pityana, Ramphele, Mpumlwana, and Wilson prove the significance of Black Consciousness in their books, beyond simply asserting it? What kind of place is accorded Black Consciousness in the literature? How is its relevance to the Soweto uprising analyzed or discussed?) and others that are suggested directly by the historical research this book has begun (What do the stories and the narratives I have collected here reveal about Black Consciousness philosophy? How much has research into Black Consciousness been affected by dominant resistance narratives? How would new oral research try to address these lacunae?). It is also important to distinguish carefully between Black Consciousness philosophy and the Black Consciousness Movement, although there were times when the institution certainly was the "natural" if nevertheless contested product of the philosophy.

There has not been a single definitive work on apartheid politics in the 1970s (with the possible exception of Brewer), although this period has not been absent from broader historical, political science, or sociological analysis (O'Meara 1996, Thompson 1990, Lodge 1983 and 1992) of resistance in South Africa. Work on African resistance during this period focuses almost exclusively on the Soweto uprising itself. This has to do partly with the rejection of Black Consciousness that is associated with the Unity Movement and that is also part of the conceptual framework that most writers after 1976 brought to bear on the topic of resistance. With the killing of Steve Biko in 1977 and the incarceration of the last leaders of Black Consciousness—its young activists and thinkers either had been arrested or had fled the country—the Black Consciousness Movement had effectively been quashed by the government. Most historians, political scientists, and sociologists then proceeded to define its historical importance away even while paying lip service to its inspiration and leadership.

Hopkins and Grange (2001) do write, somewhat unanalytically, about "Black Consciousness students" and, in their portraits of its main protagonists, comment on the absence or presence of an affiliation to the philosophy and its various organizations, but they fail to analyze why and how the Black Consciousness philosophy shaped the actions of the students.52 They do not even mention Biko's murder until the very end of their book, in their profiles of "people who shaped this episode." Even there it is ancillary to Barney Nyameko Pityana's profile.53


Cillié Commission

Related links:
Chapter 1: "Commission of Inquiry"
The Report of the Cillié Commission of Inquiry into the Riots at Soweto, published in 1980, must be considered among one of the early accounts of the uprising that claimed to be authoritative. As the official story of the state it was one of the evidentiary and narrative strategies the government devised to take back control of the townships.


Immediately after the outbreak of the uprising, the minister of police, Jimmy Kruger, had announced that the state president would be appointing a one-man commission of inquiry into the cause of the "riots." Opposition party member Colin Eglin cautioned that a multiracial commission would prevent a one-sided or superficial approach. The Soweto (Black) Parents' Association also appealed for the active participation of one or two black representatives. Kruger dismissed all of these appeals for the reason that a larger commission would need more time and that, moreover, a small commission assisted by advisers would provide better insight and background. Indeed, the Commission, under the chairmanship of Supreme Court Judge Cillié, convened almost immediately and held its first sitting on July 27, 1976. But it was to take the Commission (henceforth the Cillié Commission) two years to complete its hearings and its collecting of evidence, and its final report would be tabled only in 1980, long after other events had overtaken those in Soweto. Until then, any questions in Parliament about the proceedings of the Commission, about its report, and about any substantive information linked to the uprising could be and were put off, repeatedly.

All information relating to the riots, in so far, as the Police are concerned, has been submitted to the Cillié Commission. Consequently I consider it unfair to the Commission to divulge any information relating thereto or in connection therewith, as this might lead to the discussion of aspects of the Commission's report which has yet to laid upon the Table.54

The Cillié Commission was intended to resolve the uncertainty, the lack of insight, and the consequent lack of control of the apartheid government. Its information-gathering apparatus had failed and they had ignored the warning signals and messages that had clearly reached them. Their not knowing, their not adequately anticipating the uprising, and their having underestimated the students posed a major threat to the hegemony of the state and produced a "crisis of legitimacy." Related essay:
The State and Legitimacy
The uprising was evidence of the "movement, moods and political alliances that were being forged outside of the purview" of the apartheid state and its information-gathering apparatus—beyond the horizon of the state, the police, and township administrators. Clear evidence of the "limits of colonial knowledge," the uprising thus prompted the state to destroy the resistance and try and take control of the student movements.55

Through the Cillié Commission the South African government deliberately deployed certain metaphors and modes of explanation in accordance with established patterns of justification and explanation, within established institutions and cultures of political language to forestall the deeper (ideological?) consequences of this specific event that had materially/physically disrupted the accepted social order and now threatened the entire apartheid claim to legitimacy and inevitability (the logic of apartheid structures). (See Chapter 3, "Official Stories.")

The Cillié Commission Report sought to resolve questions about who killed Hector Pieterson, who had been behind the uprising, and what the intention of the organizers was. It was to establish an authoritative account of the chain of events, especially the cause and effect of the initial shooting, and look at the causes of the uprising. Questions such as why warnings were not heeded, whether or not alcohol had been looted or destroyed, whether it had been used to fuel the violence, and who exactly the participants were—these were as much an attempt to defer culpability as they were an effort to reestablish control over what was knowable.


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Related link:
Chapter 1: "The TRC"
Before 1990, accounts of the uprising that were authored by the resistance and that would have counterbalanced the accounts of the state were fragmentary and not comprehensive (Dlamini 1977, Ellis and Sechaba 1992, Meli 1988, Nzo 1976, Tambo 1987). But after the elections of 1994, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) produced a new narrative. Among its many investigations, the testimonies of the Soweto Hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1996 were produced in a much less antagonistic but no less traumatic context than were those of the Cillié Commission hearings. Related website: www.doj.gov.za/trc/ They are a historical record beyond compare, backed up by a vast archive of supporting materials. But they, and the sections of the TRC Report (1998) based on them, brought with them their own dangers and strengths and posed dangers in the way they deliberately created heroes, drawing them into a larger national narrative of heroic resistance.

Much has been written about the successes and failings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), depending very much on the perspective of the author (Krog 2000, Tutu 1999, Rotberg and Thompson 2000, Villa-Vicenzio and Verwoerd 2000, among many others). Although significant as a historical reference point and enduring in people's memories, in the end the so-called Soweto Hearings were overshadowed by topics that were more compelling, more recent, and perhaps more prominent—e.g., investigations into the actions of the Mandela United Football Club56—and relegated to larger summary chapters of the Cillié Report and focused on the accounts of the familiar faces. The story of the uprising, and how it fared in the narrative established by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), provides an interesting case study of the efficacy of the Commission, of how it translated its mandate, and of where it might have fallen prey to patterns of exclusion. It also tried to contribute a new chapter to the story of the uprising—and to this book—which tried to bring a measure of closure and truth. (See Chapter 3: The Official Narrative 4.)

It was a primary goal of the TRC to lay bare the "lies and deception that were at the heart of apartheid—which were indeed its very essence."57 If at times it has failed to challenge the myths associated with the Soweto uprising—either that it was "initiated by communists, or… that it was an ANC initiative"58—it has nevertheless succeeded in allowing a more complete picture to emerge. It is my hope that this book will contribute new insight and evidence to a truth that will, nevertheless, "never be fully revealed" and that my work heeds Bishop Desmond Tutu's call "not to use [the TRC] to attack others, but to add to it, correct it and ultimately to share in the process that will lead to national unity through truth and reconciliation."59


The uprising represented uncertainty and a challenge to the legitimacy of the state, a condition which was "resolved through an act of violence,"60 both figuratively and literally. The physical destruction and repression of the youth resistance, as well as the strategies to marginalize the story of the uprising, are part of a long historical trajectory of increasing violence in South Africa. In a recent book on Argentina's Dirty War junta (1976-83), Marguerite Feitlowitz asked, "When known torturers are said to be heroes, what happens to the minds of those they injured?"61 This book similarly tries to grapple with the damage done, individually and collectively, when those who did the physical violence erased the histories of their victims and contrived to create a history that denied their culpability; when violence and silence acted in collusion with each other. These are questions of the present that have most recently confronted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. When stories are heard but perpetrators amnestied, what happens to the memories of those who remain? What happens to their sense of history, of reality? What happens to their minds and their experience of pain?

This kind of violence may be subtle or blatant, but it was an integral part also of historical and political thought in South Africa. It manifested itself in political and everyday language, in the way evidence was destroyed or concealed, and in the way its material and discursive reality shaped the telling of stories—what could be remembered and articulated and how those called to explanation and analysis approached their topics. Beyond the shattering violence of the actual event, therefore, history-writing itself could be a destructive force,62 whether it deliberately distorted the historical record, inventing "mythological pasts in the service of the powers of darkness,"63 or merely proved itself unmoving, leaving historical writings that, in the end, are stony monuments—however persuasive, sympathetic, and carefully researched—to the past. The official histories of South Africa have never remained uncontested long, and so there have existed critical, often radical, alternative versions.


The question why those were permitted to continue has much to do with the (often inadvertent) complicity of the radical literature. In the end, their existence served to shore up the status quo while giving those who were critical of the government enough space to voice their opposition without resorting to political action. "Radical research," which embraced left political ideologies that challenged the apartheid state and contributed significantly to the demarginalization of African voices and experiences in South Africa, was therefore "conscientisation by other means," conceptualized to be part of the struggle for the people and against the state—all too often politically correct but not self-critical enough of the ways it served to replicate social relations based on oppression and expropriation by race.64 Lalu has charged those historians with a measure of complicity or at least complacency, not because of any failure on their part of being sufficiently critical of apartheid but because of their unwillingness to interrogate the ways in which their "alternative" histories have failed to ask critical questions about how the archives of history are constituted and how evidence is produced and preserved within relations of unequal power and in "conditions of domination." Those "who claim that colonial texts unwittingly permit a recuperation of the subaltern" through a rereading of the archives have "declared a premature victory," he writes.65

For the analysis of the relationship between memory and violence I have drawn on the simultaneously damning and evocative literature that has come out of the study of the Holocaust (among them Langer 1991, Leydesdorff 1992, Levi 1989, LaCapra 2001). Memories have been killed, according to Passerini,66 along with the person. But history too has been robbed of these memories and, when the details of the destruction of individual lives are suppressed, history and its tools, writing and research, reproduce the falsehoods on which the repressive state relies. Similarly, the desire to do away with the past perpetuates the violence of the present on memory, acting as if a large part of the past has never taken place.


Note 37: Mbulelo Mzamane, introduction to Hungry Flames and Other Black South African Short Stories (Essex: Longman, 1986), xxiv. back

Note 38: Elsabé Brink, "Why This Book Was Written: Notes from the Authors," in Recollected 25 Years Later—Soweto 16 June 1976: It All Started with a Dog … (Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2001), 198. back

Note 39: Sibongile Mkhabela. Open Earth and Black Roses: Remembering 16 June 1976 (Braamfontein: Skotaville Press, 2001), "Introduction." back

Note 40: Pat Hopkins and Helen Grange, The Rocky Rioter Teargas Show: The Inside Story of the 1976 Soweto Uprising (Cape Town: Zebra, 2001), 82-84. For my analysis of Winnie Mandela's role in the uprising, see my article "Controlling Woman: Winnie Mandela and the 1976 Soweto Uprising." International Journal of African Historical Studies 33, no. 3 (2001). back

Note 41: Rudolf Everton Hobkirk, testimony in the state's case against Kenneth Dhlamini and Lebegang Matonkonyane for the murder of Dr. Melville Edelstein, Supreme Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division (WLD)/CC/1977, case 138 (19/77). back

Note 42: Witness cited in Peter Magubane (photographer), Marshall Lee (text), and Dawn Lindberg (ed.) Soweto (Cape Town: D. Nelson, 1978), 132. back

Note 43: Oupa Thando Mthimkulu, in Baruch Hirson, Year of Fire, Year of Ash—The Soweto Revolt: Roots of a Revolution? (London: Zed Press, 1979), x. Originally published in Staffrider 1, no. 1 (1978). back

Note 44: Thomas G. Karis and Gail M. Gerhart, eds., Nadir and Resurgence, 1964-1979, vol. 5 of From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1990, ed. Thomas G. Karis and Gwendolyn M. Carter (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1972-97; vol. 5, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 156. back

Note 45: Hopkins and Grange, The Rocky Rioter Teargas Show, authors' note. back

Note 46: "Happy are they who can avoid radical choices," quoted in Patricia Hampl, "Czeslaw Milosz and Memory," in I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory (New York: Norton, 1999), 92. back

Note 47: Premesh Lalu, "The Grammar of Domination and the Subjection of Agency: Colonial Texts and Modes of Evidence," in "'Not Telling: Secrecy, Lies, and History," ed. Gary Minkley and Martin Legassick, special issue, History and Theory 39 (December 2000). See especially footnote 21 and pages 52-55. back

Note 48: Pityana et. al. Bounds of Possibility, 8. back

Note 49: Ibid., 3. back

Note 50: Ibid., 9 and 10. This controversy raged on and was evident in a heated altercation between Mamphela Ramphele and Itumeleng Mosala of the Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO), played out in the Weekly Mail and Guardian in September 1995: Mamphela Ramphele "Can the Dead Act as Arbitrators?" (8 September 1995) and Itumeleng Mosala "A Poor Tribute" (15 September 1995). back

Note 51: Pityana et al., Bounds of Possibility, 10. back

Note 52: See Gerhart, From Protest to Challenge, 5:162 (the fighters versus the talkers). Hopkins and Grange, The Rocky Rioter Teargas Show, 150 and 167-97. back

Note 53: See Hopkins and Grange, The Rocky Rioter Teargas Show, 196. back

Note 54: House of Assembly, Questions and Replies, Hansard vol. 20 (21 January-24 June 1977), 346, 347, 358, etc. back

Note 55: Lalu, "The Grammar of Domination and the Subjection of Agency," 54 and 56. back

Note 56: In which Winnie Mandela's involvement in the killing of Stompie Sepei on 1 January 1989 was investigated. back

Note 57: Tutu, chairperson's foreword, in TRC, Report, 1:7. back

Note 58: Njabulo Nkonyane, verbatim statement, December 1995), in Ndlovu, Counter-memories, 44. back

Note 59: Tutu, chairperson's foreword, in TRC, Report, 1:3. back

Note 60: Lalu, "The Grammar of Domination and the Subjection of Agency," 58. back

Note 61: Marguerite Feitlowitz, A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), xi. back

Note 62: See Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History," 19; Maurice Halbwachs, The Collective Memory, tr. Francis J. Ditter Jr. and Vida Yazdi Ditter (New York: Harper and Row, 1980); Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor, Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982); and Susan A. Crane, "Writing the Individual Back into Collective Memory," forum, American History Review 102, no. 5 (1997): 1381. back

Note 63: Yerushalmi, Zakhor, 116. back

Note 64: I have borrowed these concepts from Windsor S. Leroke, "'Koze Kube Nini?' The Violence of Representation and the Politics of Social Research in South Africa" (paper presented at the University of the Witwatersrand History Workshop, 13-15 July 1994), 11 and 14-21. back

Note 65: Lalu, "The Grammar of Domination and the Subjection of Agency," 45, 52 and 67-68. back

Note 66: Luisa Passerini, ed., Memory and Totalitarianism, International Yearbook of Oral History and Life Stories, vol. 1 (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 9. back