Accommodating hiv students

At Belle Higher Primary pupils stoned school buildings and clashed with classmates who had returned to lessons; at Naledi High pupils twice clashed with police; at Emthonjeni pupils refused to write their social studies examination in Afrikaans, while Orlando West Junior Secondary was faced with a full-scale boycott of the entire June examinations.

On 11 June Van Wyk sent another telegram to De Villiers, who again spoke to Treurnicht.

In 1974, however, the Secretary for Bantu Education, Dr Hennie van Zyl, died and in the shake-up that followed his death, Bantu Education Minister, the dour M C Botha, decided to reintroduce the 50-50 ruling.

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It was a statement that was later deservedly preserved for posterity: because a little more than three weeks after Treurnicht's glib assurance, Soweto took the lead in a countrywide rebellion that shook white South Africa to the core.

And although the uprising was eventually put down - at a cost of hundreds of lives and millions of rands in damage, South Africa has not been quite the same since.

Countdown to conflict The main cause of the protests that started in African schools in the Transvaal at the beginning of 1975 was a directive from the Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as one of the languages of instruction in the department's secondary schools. Verwoerd had thought of it more than 20 years earlier - in 1953 - when he devised his Bantu Education package.

But in the context of bausskap, even Verwoerd was capable of errors of judgment; and when the language clause proved to be unworkable due to a shortage of teachers, a lack of Afrikaans textbooks and a grudging acceptance that pupils would have immense difficulty in coping with three languages as mediums of instruction, it was quietly forgotten by the white bureaucrats who ran African education.

The pot begins to boil Of all the government officials, Bantu Education Minister M C Botha was probably best qualified to read the danger signs in the storm that began to blow over African education.

Last modified 14-Dec-2020 15:48