Johannesburg Attractions

Hector Pieterson memorial, Johannesburg
Hector Pieterson memorial, Johannesburg © Thomas.macmillan

Hector Pieterson Memorial Site and Museum

Hector Pieterson became the iconic image of the 1976 Soweto Uprising in Apartheid South Africa, when a news photograph of the dying Hector being carried by a fellow student was published across the globe. He was just 12 years old when the police opened fire on school children who had gathered to protest the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in township schools. The protest was intended to be peaceful but became a violent confrontation when police demanded that the students disperse; students threw stones and police fired bullets. News of the bloodshed ignited uprisings across the country in which 550 people were killed. Hector was one of the first to die on that tragic day. The museum fuses memorabilia with modern technology and cultural history and is located two blocks away from where Hector was killed. Hector's sister, Antoinette, who is seen in the famous photograph holding her hands out in panic, worked for many years as a tour guide at the museum. The 16th of June is a public holiday named National Youth Day in South Africa. It honours the youth who bravely stood up to the apartheid regime, and young people in general.

Address: Hector Pieterson Sq., corner of Khumalo and Pela, Orlando West, Soweto


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