Unsung Hero – Khotso Seatlholo Of 1976 Uprisings Remembered


The iconic image of a dying Hector Petersen has made him the face most associated with the 1976 youth uprisings and in many cases this has overshadowed the role of other young people and leaders during that time. One such person is the late Khotso Seatlholo.

“It is not always those that warm the oven who get to eat the bread,” says poet Don Mattera, and this is the case with a little known leader of the June 1976 Soweto Uprisings, Khotso Seatlholo.

Speaking on the Forum@8, author and historian Steve Malesela Lebelo, says that the role that figures such as Seatlholo played in the anti-apartheid struggle is often not remembered and not amongst the narratives of celebrated apartheid struggle heroes.

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Seatlholo, a student at Naledi High School in Soweto when the student uprisings began, was instrumental in the movement.

He was the leader of the Soweto Students Representative Council (SSRC) and survived two shootings, one in 1976 and another in 1978, before going into exile.

He was captured during a secret visit to South Africa in 1981 and imprisoned. In 1990,  Seatlholo was released from Robben Island and struggled with unemployment thereafter. He died in 2004.

For a more comprehensive Khotso Seatlholo, listen to the audio below:



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