The protest was intended to be peaceful and had been carefully planned by the Soweto Students’ Representative Council’s (SSRC) Action Committee, with support from the wider Black Consciousness Movement.
Teachers in Soweto also supported the march after the Action Committee emphasized good discipline and peaceful action.
By then, Standard Six had already been phased out and many students graduating from Primary Schools were being sent to the emerging Junior Secondary Schools.
It was in these Junior Secondary schools that the 50-50 language rule was to be applied.
The uprising On the morning of 16 June 1976, between 10,000-20,000 black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium for a rally to protest against having to learn through Afrikaans in school.
Many students who later participated in the protest arrived at school that morning without prior knowledge of the protest, yet agreed to become involved.Although the situation did not lead to an immediate revolt, it certainly served to build up tensions prior to the 1976 student uprising.In 1975 the government was phasing out Standard Eight (or Junior Certificate (JC)).To alleviate the situation pupils who had passed their standard six examinations were requested to repeat the standard.This was met with great resentment by the students and their parents.These factors can certainly be traced back to the Bantu Education Act introduced by the Apartheid government in 1953.The Act introduced a new Department of Bantu Education which was integrated into the Department of Native Affairs under Dr Hendrik F. The provisions of the Bantu Education Act and some policy statements made by the Bantu Education Department were directly responsible for the uprisings.Today, the people of South Africa are celebrating the Youth Day in remembrance of the heroic action by young people and students in South Africa on June 16 1976 against the dehumanizing forces of the then obnoxious and racist apartheid regime.The introduction of Afrikaans alongside English as a medium of instruction is considered the immediate cause of the Soweto uprising, but there are a various factors behind the 1976 student unrest.They rejected the idea of being taught in the language of the oppressor.The uprising took place at a time when liberation movements were banned throughout the country and South Africa was in the grip of apartheid.