“I Saw a Nightmare…”
Doing Violence to Memory: The Soweto Uprising, June 16, 1976
by Helena Pohlandt-McCormick
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List of Grievances Voiced by Members of the Urban Bantu Council

1. Tolica Makhaya, UBC

1. Tolica Makhaya, UBC

a. Die [streek]direkteur van Bantoeonderwys, Mnr. A.C. Ackerman, was nie bereid om na ons griewe te luister nie.
a. The regional director of Bantu Education was not prepared to listen to our grievances.
b. Die sentrale Regering het kontak met die gewone swartman verloor.
b. The central government has lost contact with the average black man.
c. Ons is nie in die sentrale regering en plaaslike besture verteenwoording nie. Hoe kan dan verwag word dat one tevrede moet voel?
c. We are not represented in the central and local government. How can one expect to be satisfied with that?
d. Waarom moet daar 'n Bantoe-Onderwys Departement bestaan? Hoekom kan ons onderwys nie by Nasionale Onderwys onder een Minister ingeskakel word nie?
d. Why is there a need for the Department of Bantu Education? Why can our education not be placed under National Education under one Minister?
e. Ons wil gelyke regte h-ons is nie tweedeklas nie.
e. We want equal rights-we are not second class.
f. Die paswette moet afgeskaf word. Ons wil vryelike beweeg.
f. The pass laws must be abolished. We want to move freely.
g. Ons wil nie vir onderwys betaal nie. Ons wil gratis onderwys h.
g. We do not want to pay for education. We want free education.
h. Ons is die laaste geslag leiers wat bereid is om dialoog te voer. Die volgende geslag sal die skildvel [?] en assegaai opneem.
h. We are the last generation of leaders who are prepared to have a dialog. The coming generation will take up the rawhide shield and the assegaai (spear).
i. Ons is keelvol vir krotte. Ons kyk met verlange na huise van die witman.
i. We have had it with hovels. We look with longing at the houses of the white man.
j. Die aanhouding van ons leiers word nie meer geduld nie.
j. The detention of our leaders can no longer be tolerated.

2. Mnr. Lennox Mlongi: Opposisieleier in die Stedelike Bantoeraad van Soweto:

2. Lennox Mlongi, opposition leader in the UBC

a. Stedelike Bantoerade is deur die Regering in die lewe geroep. Al het ons die daarstelling van die Rade nie goedgekeur nie, het ons tog besluit om daarop te dien. Die rade word egter nie deur die swart publiek aanvaar nie. Die posisie is vererger deurdat die Regering nie luister na die voorstelle van die rade se afgevaardigdes nie.
a. Urban Bantu Councils were created by the government. Although we did not agree with the creation of these councils, we nevertheless decided to serve on them. But the councils are not accepted by the black public. The position is aggravated by the fact that the government does not listen to the suggestions made by the delegates of the councils.

b. Ons het met le hande teruggekeer na onderhandelings met die Regering. Die kinders van Soweto het hul o op ons gerig en ons het gefaal.
b. We returned with empty hands after negotiations with the government. The children of Soweto turned their eyes to us and we failed.
c. Griewe in Soweto is dieselfde as in die res van die land. Dis politieke griewe. Die rede vir die ontevredenheid is dat die swartman nie opreg in regeringskringe verteenwoording is nie.
c. The grievances in Soweto are the same all over the country. They are political grievances. The reason for the dissatisfaction is that the black man is not represented sincerely in government circes.
d. Die aanhouding van on leiers skep groot ontevredenheid.
d. The detention of our leaders creates great dissatisfaction.
e. Ons wil erken word as permanente inwoners van Soweto.
e. We want to be recognized as permanent residents in Soweto.

3. Mnr. K. Ramasia: Bantoewoonbuurt Randfontein

3. K. Ramasia: Randfontein

a. Ons het niks teen Afrikaans as taal en vak nie, maar wel as medium van onderrig.
a. We are not against Afrikaans as language and subject, but as medium of instruction.
b. Ons hou nie van die houding van die amptenare van Bantoe Administrasierade nie; hulle behandel ons nie soos mense nie.
b. We do not like the attitudes of officials of the Bantu Administration Boards; they do not treat us like humans.
c. Die hor pryse en die feit dat ons salarisse nie na verhouding styg nie, het ook die uitbreek van onluste aangehelp.
c. High prices and the fact that our salaries do not rise in proportion also expedited the eruption of riots.
d. Die onluste was 'n uitlaatklep vir baie opgekropte gevoelens.
d. The riots were an exhaust valve for many pent-up feelings.

4. Mnr. R. Sishi: Alexandra

4. R. Sishi: Alexandra

a. Ons het baie klagtes; ons word deur alle Regeringsdepartemente geignoreer. Ons word al jare lank vertel dat ons na ander gebiede verskuif sal word en daarom word geen geld in ons woonbuurt bestee nie. Daar is egter geen tekens dat ons binne die volgende tien jaar gaan skuif nie.
a. We have many complaints; we are ignored by all government departments. We have been told for years that we are to be removed to other areas and that therefore no money is invested in our neighborhoods. There are however no signs that we will move within the next ten years.
b. Afrikaans as medium van onderrig het net die ander griewe laat ontvlam.
b. Afrikaans as medium of instruction did not cause the other grievances to burst into flame.
c. Ons word behandel asof ons mense sonder gevoelens is. Ons word nie as 'n gemeenskap erken nie.
c. We are treated as if we are people without feelings. We are not acknowledged as a community.
d. Ons as lede van die Stedelike Bantoerade word as ape deur ons eie mense uitgekryt.
d. We as members of the Urban Bantu Council are decried as monkeys by our own people.
e. Ons word soos diere deur amptenare van Administrasierade behandel.
e. We are treated like animals by the bureaucrats of the Administration Boards.
f. Die houding van die polisie is ewe onmenslik. Hulle intimideer onskuldige mense.
f. The attitudes of the police is equally inhuman. They intimidate innocent people.

5. Mnr. H. Modemokeng: Westonaria

5. H. Modemokeng: Westonaria

Ons het geen griewe gehad voor onluste begin het nie. Ons weet nie waarom die onrus begin het nie.
We had no grievances before the riots began. We do not know why the disturbances began.

6. Mnr. Mangope: Krugersdorp

6. Mangope: Krugersdorp

Die medium van onderrig by die skole kan dalk een van die redes vir die onluste wees. Van ander redes weet ons nie.
The medium of instruction in the schools could possibly have been one of the reasons for the riots. We do not know of other reasons.

7. Mnr. I.B. Moshau: Dobsonville

7. I.B. Moshau: Dobsonville

a. Afrikaans as taal was nie die rede vir oproer nie, maar wel omdat dit 'n medium van onderrig in ander vakke was.
a. Afrikaans as language was not the reason for revolt, but certainly as a medium of instruction in other subjects.
b. Die kwessie van Afrikaans is uitgebuit om ander griewe te laat opduik.
b. The issue of Afrikaans was exploited to let other grievances emerge.
c. Alle Staatsdepartemente se amptenare is nie eerlik nie, veral mense van Bantoe Onderwys.
c. Not all the officials of the state departments are honest, especially the people of Bantu Education.
d. Ons het geglo dat ons 'n groter s in sake sal h as ons lede van Stedelike Bantoerade word. Die het nie gebeur nie."
d. We believed that we would have a greater say in things if we became members of the Urban Bantu Councils. That did not happen.


Source: List of comprehensive grievances presented to M. C. Botha, minister of Bantu Administration and Development, officials of the Department of Bantu Administration and Development, chairman and officials of the West Rand Administration Board by a delegation from the Soweto Urban Bantu Council (UBC) and other Soweto leaders, Pretoria, 19 June 1976, SAB WLD 6857/77, WRAB v. Santam, NN8. T.