± 1000 BCE (Pre-colonial)
Late Stone Age people (San/Tsam//Xam) teach their children how to hunt and gather food, skin animals, prepare and cook food and also how make and use stone tools.
± 1500 (Pre-colonial)
Khoi (Gorachoqua, Goringhaiqua & Goringhaicona) teach their children similar skills, but also how to look after animals and how to gather seafood from the beach.
First white settlers arrive at the Cape, Jan van Riebeeck is among the Dutch settlers as they encounter a number of different groups of black people who are occupying the land.
28 March, 170 slaves arrive at the Cape in the Dutch ship The Amersfoort. They are the first shipment of slaves in the colony.
17 April, The first formal school in South Africa is opened by the Dutch East India Company. It is specifically intended for the slaves from The Amersfoort. Pieter van der Stael teaches the class.
A second school opens for children of the colonists. The class comprises 12 white colonist children, 4 young slaves and 1 Khoikhoi child. A church clerk named Ernestus Back teaches them. 
A colonial decree requires compulsory school attendance from all slave children under 12 years of age. Older slave children have to attend school twice a week. Both settlers and slaves ignore this and some slaves even hide in mountain caves on one occasion to avoid going to school.
A separate school starts, exclusively for slave children under 12. The boys' teacher is Jan Pasqual and a freed slave, Margaret, teaches the girls. Some slaves are selected to learn skilled trades. The 1663 school continues but is reserved for non-slave children and offspring of colonists.
In the Cape Colony, Governor de Chavonnes decrees the first educational ordinance: the Ordonnantie van de School Ordenning. The decree makes it illegal for a person to be employed as a teacher without the approval of the governor and the Council of Policy. Importantly the Scholarchs (Committee to oversee education) is established. 3 church ministers and 1 civil servant make up the committee and control education in the Colony. The duties of teachers are spelled out and regulations regarding school organization are laid down. These measures represent the first steps towards formalising education in the Cape.
Major wars of dispossession begin against the indigenous people groups of southern Africa as colonists want to claim land for themselves.
The Cape Government opens a military school.
The French Revolution.
Jacob Ziegler's private French and Dutch School opens.
Napoleon invades the Netherlands and the Batavian Republic is established. The Dutch school system reforms because of new teaching materials and textbooks, the first school buildings are designed and education becomes a function of the state. This will later have an effect on education at the Cape.
Joseph Lancaster starts his method of education (monitorial system) for working class children in England. This system will later be used in South Africa.
The first school specifically for Africans opens near what is now King William's Town. Previous to this only a handful of Khoi and black South Africans received formal education.
Christian missionaries establish schools for Africans, mainly on the fringes of settler occupation.
The Dutch re-occupy the Cape after the first British occupation.
The School Ordinance is passed. This is a milestone in the history of education because it withdrew the control of public education from the church and introduced the idea that the organisation of public schooling is a responsibility of the state.
The British forcibly occupy the Cape. This interrupts educational reforms put in place by the School Ordinance.
The British take over the Cape colony from the Dutch.
1822 - 1824
Government Free Schools (also known as English Free Schools) are established throughout the Cape Colony. A school is established at Wynberg and is the forerunner of the Wynberg Boys’ Schools. Based on Lancaster’s monitorial system, the schools are mostly aimed at the poor. Instruction is exclusively in English and at no charge to the parents. Free schools are originally intended to be multiracial, but soon they begin to provide for white children only. Church Schools become almost exclusivley coloured to complement the Free Schools.
The first school in the Orange Free State opens.
The famous mission station, Lovedale, is founded by the Glasgow Missionary Society near present-day Alice in the Eastern Cape.
Ordinance 50 gives equal rights to the Khoi and other 'free persons of colour', allowing movement to seek work.
The Zuid-Afrikaansche Athenaeum (South African College) is established. The College later gives rise to two major educational institutions: the SA College Schools (SACS) and the University of Cape Town.
All slaves in the British Empire are freed. Slaves in South Africa are also freed, with Ordinance 50 being extended to them. White farmers can no longer rely on a supply of unfree labour.
The Government Free School system had mostly failed because of Dutch parents’ boycott of it. In the Eastern Cape it was better received, due to the larger numbers of British settlers. After this year it was gradually abandoned. The only successful Free Schools were the one at Uitenhage and Graaff-Reinet because teachers did not abandon the Dutch language and also learnt to identify with their communities better.
Natal opens its first school.
The Great Trek begins.
First Teachers' Training College established at Genadendal mission station
1839 (1822-1839)
The number and quality of Dutch private schools increases by more than double to protest against the English school system, which is considered to be inferior by the colonists. The Cape’s strong tradition of private schools can be traced back to this time.
1839 (1822-1839)
The number and quality of Dutch private schools increases by more than double to protest against the English school system, which is considered to be inferior by the colonists. The Cape’s strong tradition of private schools can be traced back to this time.
A Department of Education is established in the Cape Colony. All mission schools now fall under its control. The Education Law is also passed in the Cape Colony and, amongst other things, the state grants aid to schools, limits religious instruction and gives attention to classical languages such as Greek and Latin.
State financial grants to mission schools begin.
The first school is established in what later becomes the Transvaal.
Various administrators in the Department of Education open their first office in the old Slave Lodge and this is the first official location of the Western Cape Education Department. The furniture consists of 1 communal desk which the Superintendent-General of Education and his clerk share, 3 chairs and 1 cupboard with shelves!
Adams Mission College in Natal is inaugurated. Many African leaders are educated there including Chief Albert Luthuli.
Sir George Grey is appointed as Governor of the Cape. He subsidizes mission schools as part of his ‘border pacification' policy.
A total number of 145 black students attend school in Natal, almost all these schools are run by church missions .
The state officially opposes providing free education. Financial support has to come from other sources, such as the Latin Fund, the Masonic Education Fund, the Slave Compensation Fund, the Bible and School Commission, the levying of school fees, and overseas sources.
Education Act No. 14 is passed. It provides for the creation of Educational Boards in villages and towns. This means that more schools can be established, but the funding of these remains a problem (see above).
1858 - 1859
The pupil-teacher system (advanced pupils teaching junior classes) is formalised and, for the first time, girls are allowed to teach. Pupils have to be 13 years of age and have to be trained for 5 years and write an annual examination. After completion of the training, one year must to be spent at a recognized training institute.
1859  (1848-1859)
Higher education is offered by the South African College, the Diocesan College in Rondebosch, the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch, St Andrew’s in Grahamstown, and the Grey Institute in Port Elizabeth.
Evening Schools are officially recognized by the government, and received state aid. These schools are designed for young adults who are working during the day and could not attend ordinary schools.
Education Act No. 13 is passed. The Act formalizes the system of state subsidies for private schools. State funding is divided into three school categories: public, mission and ‘native'. A mere 2 827 African students are enrolled in schools.
Inanda Seminary for girls is established.
The Cape becomes a self-governing colony.
The first district boarding schools are established to accommodate children who lived too far from the nearest public school. The first of these was Blaauwvallei near Wellington.
A scheme of fixed standards of attainment up to Std 4 is drawn up to ensure that pupils would learn more than just meaningless facts. Many schools, especially Mission Schools, need to change to comply with the standard.
The University of the Cape of Good Hope is established to replace the Board of Examiners. It determines standards and syllabuses, conducts the School Elementary Examination, the School Higher Examination and the Matriculation Examination, and confers degrees.
New legislation comes into being and colleges officially receive aid from the government. This benefits the South African College, the Diocesan College, the Grey Institute (Port Elizabeth), Gill College (Somerset East) and St Andrew’s College (Grahamstown). These institutions can now afford to expand and further the cause of higher education.
The South African Teachers’ Association is established and Langham Dale is chairman.
Die Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners is established in Paarl to promote Afrikaans as a people’s language independent from Dutch.
The Council of Education is established.
A number of wars of dispossession fought on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony end. More mission stations and mission schools open because of the ceasefire.
Marianhill Mission station and catholic school opens.
Proclamation No. 113 of 1882 promises grants for the erection of school buildings and the state will contribute on a pound-for-pound basis. Furniture, books and stationery will also be supplied on a pound-for-pound basis. However, the depression reduces the amount of government money available for buildings. Teachers and parents voice their outrage because the Education Department has again failed to deliver on its promises.
A ‘payment-by-results’ system is established in the Cape and teachers receive extra money according to the number of children that pass.
Black schooling becomes a separate responsibility within the Council of Education.
Enrolment of African school students rises to 15 568.
Std 6 is declared the end of the primary school course. Those who pass, receive a Public Schools Certificate.The School Elementary Certificate is written after Std 7.
Enrolment of African school students rises to 25 000.
Cecil John Rhodes proposes a university system that would bring English and Afrikaans speaking communities together in South Africa.
The Council of Education is abolished and a sub-department of ‘Native Education' is established under the Superindendent of Education.
Natal's African student numbers rise to 10 618.
Negotiations continue around the formation of a South African University system.
The South African Native Affairs Commission reports a growing desire amongst Africans for education.
The Minister of Education F.S. Malan announces in a speech in Cape Town that the university system should satisfy both white communities (Afrikaans and English).
The Land Act establishes 'reserves' (later called 'bantustans' and 'homelands') and effectively zones 80% of the population (i.e. black Africans) to 13% of the total land area of South Africa. Black Africans are prevented from buying land outside these areas and property sizes inside the reserves are also restricted. As a result of this Act, the majority of Africans can no longer live as subsistence farmers and there is not enough land for everyone. Africans are forced to work for wages on white farms or in mines or factories. The South African Native National Congress (later the ANC) forms to protest against this Act. Many of its founding members are mission school graduates.
The Laurence Commission is established to investigate the possibility of establishing multi-racial universities. The Commission recommends that the medium of instruction should not be a major issue in universities and university colleges.
The South African Native College (later renamed University of Fort Hare in 1951) opens its doors to African, Indian, Coloured and two White students.
Students at Lovedale riot and set fire to buildings 'in protest against bad bread'. The estimated damage is between £3,000 and £5,000. 198 students are brought to trial and receive sentences ranging from three months imprisonment with a fine of £50, to strokes with a light cane.
The colour bar officially regulates labour appointment and job reservation is created. The 'Civilized Labour Policy' and the Apprenticeship Act further disadvantages Africans. Black workers are placed in an inferior position to white workers, and are also denied certain freedoms.
February, Students at the Kilnerton training centre embark on a hunger strike 'for more food'.
New laws fix the funding of African education at a constant level for years to come. Africans have to fund themselves if state subsidies are not enough.This causes continual under funding.
The National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) forms to represent and promote the interests of students of South African universities and colleges.
The Communist Party of South Africa begins night school in a church building in Ferreirastown, Johannesburg.
The government establishes a Commission of Inquiry into African education. The Commission points to problems with the system, but virtually nothing is done to improve things.
The University of Stellenbosch withdraws from the National Union of South African Students and NUSAS is now only representative of English-speaking campuses.
The South African Native College (University of Fort Hare) awards some 90 degrees to arts and science graduates.
The Commission of Inquiry into grievances and disturbances at African schools withholds its findings, fearing they will provoke more anger among students and more destruction of property.
Students at the South African Native College (Fort Hare) embark on a campaign of non-cooperation following a dispute with college authorities. The campaign, led by Oliver Tambo, eventually sees 45 students suspended.
Young intellectuals and professionals, led by Anton Lambede and Ashley Mda, form the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
10 September, A mass youth conference is held in Johannesburg to formally launch the ANCYL. The first National Executive Committee members are Anton Lembede (president), Oliver Tambo (secretary), Walter Sisulu (treasurer), Ashley Peter Mda (organiser) and Nelson Mandela and David Bopape as additional members. The ANCYL provisional committee issues a flyer, “Trumpet Call to Youth”, announcing a meeting.
South African Native College (Fort Hare) re-applies for admission to NUSAS and is accepted.
August, The Lovedale riot attracts much attention, partly because it is the premier black school in the country, and also because the 'independent' Commission of Inquiry (set up by the Lovedale Governing Council) issues an official report. The school is in a state of unrest and students set up their own unofficial organisation known as 'The Board' (borrowed, it appears, from ‘The Board of Guardians' in Oliver Twist). There is a call for a student strike and the removal of the headmaster.
After the Lovedale strike in 1945 there are at least five others in the Cape and the Transvaal.
7 December, A sit-down strike occurs at the Bethesda Bantu Training College near Pietersburg.
30 July, Anton Lembede dies suddenly. He is 33 years old.
A general election puts the National Party into power and apartheid is introduced.
A small branch of the ANCYL is established at The South African Native College.
Three Youth Leaguers address the students at a Completer's Social in the presence of the principal and the staff. The social gathering is turned into a violent attack on the political and social conditions prevailing in the land. The slogan for the evening is 'Africa for the Africans' . Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who later becomes leader of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), is present.
The government appoints the Eiselen Commission to look at African education. The Commission recommends 'resorting to radical measures' for the 'effective reform of the Bantu school system'.
Writing about the strikes in the schools, C.A.R. Motsepe observes that black students are aware of their parents' agitation for better conditions of life, higher wages, better housing, and better judicial rights.
17 December, Through the initiatives of the ANCYL, the ANC adopts the Youth League's Programme of Action as its policy document. The Programme adopts a more militant stance and calls for an end to compliance with the government's racist policies.
Nelson Mandela succeeds Peter Mda as the new president of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL).
The South African Native College is renamed the University of Fort Hare.
The Cape based Non-European Unity Movement (NEUM), the predominant political group in the Cape during the early 1950s, loses support to the ANC during the Defiance Campaign as the later becomes more vocal within the structures of the ANC.
The Bantu Education Act is passed. The Act forces all schools for Africans to register with the government, resulting in almost all of the mission schools as well as night schools closing down.
Boycott of schools in Southern Transvaal and Eastern Cape.
The Extension of University Education Act establishes separate 'tribal colleges' for black university students. Blacks can no longer freely attend white universities. Again, there are strong protests.
The university structure of South Africa is altered. The enrolment at the University of Fort Hare is 319 Africans, 70 Coloureds, and 100 Indians (excluding whites). In the same year 300 Africans, 541 Coloureds, and 815 Indians are enrolled in 'white universities'. It is only in the period preceding the introduction of the Universities Bill that black students join their white peers in protesting against the closing of the open universities.
February, Over 300 students at Lovedale organise a walkout and go home.
NUSAS president Jonty Driver presents a paper reviewing debate at a NUSAS leadership seminar at Botha's Hill in Natal.
The Indian Education Act is passed, placing Indian education under the control of the Department of Indian Affairs. Indian education is also made compulsory.
The Christian Institute forms African Independent Churches' Association (AICA).
The National Education Policy Act is introduced. The Act outlines the principles of Christian National Education (CNE) in white schools. CNE adheres to the creeds of the Dutch Reformed Church and is fundamentalist and anti-evolutionist. A major promoter of CNE, Dr. Chris Coetzee, says on CNE says that there is no distinction between christianity and nationalism. Later on a poll reveals that the majority of Afrikaaners did not want CNE.
The University Christian Movement (UCM) is formed as an interdenominational organisation to explore what the church and individuals can do to bring about change in South Africa. More than half of the delegates at the inaugural conference are black.
July, The annual NUSAS conference, held at Rhodes University, is disrupted by the Minister of Bantu Affairs. Under the Group Areas Act black delegates are told that they cannot be accommodated at the university residence and must sleep in the neighbouring township. Black and white members of NUSAS are furious. The situation is exacerbated when the Vice-Chancellor of the university stops all racially mixed social gatherings and forbids blacks from taking meals in the residence. This incident later contributes to the formation of the South African Students Association, a NUSAS breakaway led by Steve Biko in 1970.
18 October, Rand Afrikaner University (RAU) is established by an act of parliament on 18 Oct. 1966.
Over 200 students at the University of Cape Town organise a sit-in protest against government intervention that forced the university to repeal its appointment of black academic Archie Mafeje as senior lecturer in the Department of African Studies. Over 1000 students and staff later join this protest and demand non-interferance from the government in university appointments. Students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Rhodes, and Natal also join the protests. Wits students take the matter further by marching on the Union Buildings where they intend delivering a letter of protest. However students from the University of Pretoria attack the marchers, preventing them from reaching the Union Buildings
July, Steve Biko attends a conference of the University Christian Movement (UCM) where he discovers that despite the UCM's non-racial political orientation and its majority black membership, the leadership of the organisation is dominated by whites.
24 August, Following the unrest over the appointment of Archie Mafeje, Prime Minister, B.J. Vorster warns that if the student protests did not end immediately, police would move onto campuses. The protests were called off and the students were back at lectures by 26 August.
December, During the Christmas recess, a meeting at Marianhill is attended by about thirty members of Black University Students' Representative Councils, including Steve Biko. The meeting analyses the NUSAS experience and Biko is encouraged by the group's receptiveness to his idea of an all-black organisation. The name South African Students' Organisation (SASO) is chosen and plans are made for a formal inaugural conference.
Barney Pityana and 21 other students are expelled from the University of Fort Hare for political acticivism. The University of the North's Students' Representative Council collaborates with the expelled students and organises a strike.
July, SASO is formally inaugurated and Steve Biko is elected its national president.
1970 - 1979
The Anglo American Corporation offers money for Soweto classrooms but this is not accepted.
August, In an article published in a SASO newsletter Steve Biko writes: "The integration they (liberals) talk about ... is artificial ... one-way of course, with the Whites doing all the talking and the Blacks the listening." An editorial in the SASO newsletter states the political and strategic rationale for the term Black: to define their enemy more clearly and broaden the scope from which they operate.
Junior African Students' Congress (JASCO) is founded at Inanda Seminary.
An Education Commission comprising of SASO members, black educationists and laymen is established to explore means of making education relevant to the aspirations of blacks.
First steps taken toward the formation of Black People's Convention (BPC).
11 March, NUSAS launches the Wages Commission at the University of Natal.
April, SASO convenes a meeting of some church groups and an education organisation to discuss the coordination of their activities.
1 July, SASO adopts the ‘Declaration of Student Rights'. The Declaration expresses the belief that ‘institutions of learning and all therein serve in the noble pursuit and prejudiced acquisition of knowledge'. 
August, A proposal is made at a NUSAS conference that The Wages Commission (based in Durban at the University of Natal) should be replicated at Wits, UCT, Rhodes University and the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg (UNP). The proposal calls for a national effort to investigate the operation of the Wage Board, for students to present research at board meetings and to assist workers in presenting their demands. The motion is passed, but the challenge to coordinate activities remained.
The League of African Youth (LAY) is founded in Umtata. It aims to become a nation-wide body.
SASO is banned at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Durban-Westville and is suspended at the University of the North (UNIN).
SASO claims that the number of members in its organisation is between 4 000 and 6 000 people.
SASO resolves to build links with school-age youth and to extend SASO's leadership training methods to include them. Eight SASO members are elected onto the Student Representative Council at the University of Western Cape.
Steve Biko is employed as the BPC's full-time youth coordinator.
January, The Soweto-based African Student Movement (ASM) changes its name to South African Student Movement (SASM)
March, The government views the Black Consciousness (BC) movement as supportive of their 'separate development' ideology, and thus tolerates them. Later the government clamps down on the activities of SASO and BPC leaders Steve Biko, Barney Pityana and six others.
Confrontation ensues between the UNIN administration and the SRC when the latter rejects an administration demand to remove the SASO Policy Manifesto from the official student.
April, UCT students at the Wage Board sitting for the mineral waters manufacturing industry point out that the government policy, as stated in parliament earlier that year, is to reduce the historical wage gap between white and black. Students argue that the gap had actually widened and question the role of the Board in preventing the position of black workers from deteriorating further.
April-June, Student unrest at both black and white English-language universities leads to violent police action against demonstrators in Cape Town, Johannesburg and elsewhere. 618 people are arrested and many are charged for a range of offences. All are aquitted, except one student who is fined R50 for addressing a meeting.
2 May, An all-White disciplinary committee expels Abram Onkgopotse Tiro from Turfloop following a graduation speech highly critical of the Bantu Education Act of 1953. The university council claims the speech incited students to protest against the leadership of the university as well as against Tiro's expulsion. The speech becomes known as the Turflop Testimony.
12 May, SASO adopts the ‘Alice Declaration’ at the federal Theological Seminary in the Eastern Cape. The Declaration proposes that students nationwide should close down black institutions of higher education through lecture boycotts in support of Onkgopotse Abram Tiro who was expelled from the University of the North (Turfloop).
1 June, The planned reopening of the University of the North (Turfloop) fails. Every major black campus endorses strike action. Student grievances go beyond the Turfloop expulsions because of long-standing student complaints about domination by white staff, biased curricula and demeaning campus conditions.
2 June, A student meeting on the steps of St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town is baton charged by police and by persons in plain clothes.
7 June, The Fort Hare manifesto is issued stating that, “we, the students of Fort Hare, believe that all Black institutions of higher learning are founded upon an unjust political ideology of a White racist regime bent on annihilating all intellectual maturity of Black people in South Africa”. However, at this stage the events on the Black campuses are no longer considered newsworthy.
12 June, The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is closed and students are told to re-apply for admission one month later. The students meet and by overwhelming majority decide that they will not re-apply as individuals.
2 July, SASO holds its 3rd General Student Council at Hammanskraal near Pretoria. Temba Sono advocates a closer relationsbetween SASO and homeland leaders, such as Gatcha Buthelezi. Sono is severely criticised by delegates, who argue that homeland leaders are puppets of the apartheid regime, and is deposed. The Education Commission tables the Black Student Manifesto for adoption by the conference.
15 July UWC students are all accepted back, but they boycott lectures to support their demand for an impartial Commission of Inquiry.
August, Black Community Project (BCP) establishes the Natal Youth Organisation in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
December, SASO National Formation School is formally launched on the theme “Towards Black Education” and produces a “Charter for a Black University”. The Charter is seen as the foundation of education for liberation, self-reliance and development aimed at a communalistic and egalitarian society.
16 December, Activist Mthuli Shezi, one of the leading Black Consciousness activists and artists whose writings and plays played a major role in inspiring the youth, is killed. He is pushed under a moving train at Germiston Station by a white station cleaner after standing up to defend several black women being drenched by the cleaner.
Cape Town based South African Black Scholars Association stops operating following harrassment from the police.
9 January, Students participating in NUSAS’s Wages Commission are seen by some, particularly the government, to have been ‘agitators’ of violence. Subsequent interviews with workers play down the role of the Wages Commission in the 1973 Durban strikes, citing their ‘disgusting’ low wages as the main reason for the strikes.
27 February, A Commission of Inquiry is appointed by Prime Minister B.J. Vorster to investigate the activities of four organisations. Amongst others, NUSAS submits a detailed interim report to the Assembly which recommends action against eight NUSAS leaders. The Schlebush Commission, named after its chairman A.L. Schlebush, comprises five other National Party MPs and four opposition United Party (UP) MPs. The approval of the report by its four UP members is widely criticized. On the same day banning orders, under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, are served on the eight NUSAS leaders. The following day sees violent student clashes take place in Johannesburg.
21 March, Nusas leaders are served with a banning order.
June, The National Youth Organisation (NYO) is formed by the representatives of Natal Youth Organisation, Transvaal Youth Organisation, Cape Border Youth Union and Western Cape Youth Organisation at their four day gathering in King William’s Town.
7 August, Students strike at the University of Fort Hare. SASO is accused of agitation. Further violence erupts on the campus on 28 August 1973.
21 August, The banning orders on NUSAS leaders are discussed by the Principals of four English language universities and with Prime Minister Vorster. Vorster is unsympathetic and emphasises that extra-Parliamentary action to bring about change in government will not be tolerated.
September, Mathe Diseko, President of NYO and National Secretary of South African Students Movement is banned.
21 October, It is reported that the government has banned twenty leaders of Black organisations, including SASO.
SASO in partnership with BPC organises its first national political campaign titled “Viva FRELIMO rallies" to celebrate the independence of Mozambique by the newly elected FRELIMO government.
1 February, Abraham Tiro, a SASO leader expelled from Turfloop University in 1972 is killed by a parcel bomb near Gaborone, Botswana, where he was living as a refugee. The assassination was the work of the South African government’s hit squad. The assassination led to widespread protest in South Africa and black students boycott lectures and a number of universities are forced to shut down.
May, PAC leader Zeph Mothopeng addresses a National Youth Organisation leadership seminar held at Welgespruit.
12 August, The Schlebusch Commission of Inquiry into Certain Organisations submits its final report on NUSAS to Parliament. It finds that its leaders are traitors and guilty of promoting terrorist groups. The Commission recommends that NUSAS should be prevented from accepting funds from overseas.
13 SeptemberThe Minister of Justice announces that NUSAS has been declared an ‘affected organization’ under the Affected Organizations Act and will not be allowed to retain any funds obtained from overseas.
25 September, Viva Frelimo’ Rallies are held by BPC and SASO to celebrate the fall of the Portuguese government in Mozambique. The police subsequently suppress the rallies by means of bans and detentions. Nine SASO leaders, ’the SASO Nine’, are charged under the Terrorism Act for encouraging disorder. Following the arrests, Mapetla Mohapi and Malusi Mpumlwana are dispatched from Kings Williams Town to Durban to keep SASO headquarters operational.
18 February, The SASO Nine make their first court appearance.
May, The trial of the SASO Nine begins in the Pretoria Supreme Court. They are acused of promoting anti-white sentiment, promoting racial hostility, and preparing for violent revolution. They are convicted under the Terrorism Act. All activities of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) are suspended until further notice. The announcement is made at the University of the North at Turfloop, Transvaal.
December, The 4th national conference of the Black People’s Convention (BPC) is attended by 100 people in King William’s Town.
4 March, The BPC, SASO, and SASM become active in Soweto schools over the issue of instruction in Afrikaans.
20 April, Pupils at Orlando West Junior School go on strike against the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction.
27 April, Police confront some 10,000 students demonstrating against rent increases in Soweto and violence ensues. The offices of the Urban Bantu Council in Soweto are attacked. The government later suspends rent increases for one month, pending investigation of alternative financing.
May, The “Mafikeng Manifesto and 30 Point Programme” of the BPC is debated at a symposium in Mafikeng.
12 May, A female teacher is attacked by two robbers on her way to school and is saved by more than 100 pupils from Orlando North Secondary School, who catch the robbers and beat them to death. In another Incident in May, a pupil stabs a teacher at Pimville. Police try to arrest the pupils but are stoned by other pupils.
16 May, Pupils at Phefeni Secondary School start boycotting classes in protest against the use of Afrikaans in education. The unrest spreads to Belle Higher Primary School, Thulasizwe Higher Primary School, and Emthonjeni Khulo Ngolawazi Higher Primary School.
17 May, Pupils at Orlando West Junior School strike in protest at the dismissal of a member of the school board. They bombard the principal’s office with stones and draw up a memorandum of grievances, which they hand to the principal.
18 May, Two further schools close and the children congregate in the school grounds, playing and skipping while teachers stand by unwilling to interfere.
24 May, Pupils reject a call by the Orlando Diepkloof School Board to return to school. The strike spreads to Pimville Higher Primary School. The SASM makes an attempt to consolidate the situation and holds a conference in Roodepoort to discuss the campaign against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.
25 May, The first incidence of overt violence is reported when a teacher of Afrikaans at Pimville Higher Primary School is stabbed with a screwdriver.
5 June, Pupils at the Belle Higher Primary School stone children who have returned to classes during an apparent lull in the boycotts.
8 June, Security police arrive at Naledi High School and attempt to arrest the leader of the local SASM branch. Pupils stone the police officers and burn their car.
11 June, The recently appointed deputy minister of "Bantu education", Andries Treurnicht, rejects applications by five Soweto schools to depart from the so-called 50-50 policy in secondary education, which entailed equal use of English and Afrikaans in schooling.
16 June, The June 16th demonstrations take place on the day that the Internal Security Amendment Act comes into operation. The Internal Security Amendment Act, which replaced the Suppression of Communism Act, gives the minister of ’Justice’ enhanced powers to declare organisations unlawful, to prohibit publications, to prohibit attendance at gatherings, to restrict persons to certain areas and to detain persons and witnesses in custody.
In the aftermath of the June 16th student demonstrations, it is difficult to get a clear picture of what happens, but at some point police open fire on the marching students with live ammunition and teargas. There is pandemonium. The total number killed and wounded is never confirmed; some sources estimate the death toll on the first day at 25, others nearer 100. The police prevent an official count, warning journalists to stay away from the bodies. Baragwanath Hospital is closed to the public and lorries carry away the dead. Many are never seen again and remain unaccounted. Sam Nzima photographs Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying the body of 13 year old Hector Petersen, the first casualty of June 16th. One of the photographs would become an iconic image of apartheid brutality. Anger inspires retaliation, police cars are burnt and fires blaze throughout the night.
17 June, The second day of the protest is marked by uncontrollable fury. Fires rage in townships throughout the country. Residents of Alexandra township in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs erect barricades. Pupils stone cars passing through Soweto. Police shoot at random and at anyone who raises a fist and shouts ’amandla!’ (power). Helicopters patrol the skies and workers refuse to go to work. 400 White students at the University of Witwatersrand express their solidarity with the pupils of Soweto in a march near the campus and are joined by black spectators who marched with them. Police and a group of whites (said later to be policemen in plan clothes) wielding chains and staves break up the demonstration. When the students regroup later, they are attacked by police.
18 June, The number of skirmishes between pupils and police diminishes. A general stayaway is organised. There are reports of pupils seizing weapons from the police and using them to shoot back at the police. Protests in solidarity with Soweto students take place at the University of Cape Town and other campuses around the country.
24 June, The principal’s office at Hlargisi Primary School in Nyanga (Cape Town) is destroyed in an arson attack and on the following day the riot squad is on standby at Langa when a crowd threatens officials of the Bantu Administration.
18 July, Joseph Peele and Abner Letlape, members of the Meadowlands Tswana School Board dismissed in February, are reinstated and it is announced that the regional director of education and one of the circuit inspectors will be transferred from the Soweto area.
19 July, The Government Gazette announces that 123 persons have been banned as a result of the June 16 revolt. The Minister of Police imposes a nationwide prohibition on the holding of meetings, which is later extended to the end of the year.
22 July, Government announces that schools will be re-opened. This is met with scepticism from the youth who see no reason to return to classes.
27 July, Reports are received that a school at Mamelodi (Pretoria) has been burnt and that the same has happened at a farm school in Irene (Pretoria district). That evening six schools and a youth club in Soweto are damaged by fire. During the next 10 days, some 50 schools are damaged or destroyed in the Transvaal, Natal and Orange Free State.
August, Students protest against the visit of Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state, to South Africa. Their slogans scrawled on banners receive world-wide publicity.
1 August, The Urban Bantu Council (UBC), a government structure, calls a meeting in Soweto and UBC members, together with school principals, appeal for an end to the burnings and a return to school. Students attempt to breakup the meeting. That afternoon the Black Parents Association (BPA) holds a meeting at the Regina Mundi church and Tietsi Mashinini, one of the student leaders calls on each school to send two delegates to a meeting of the SSRC. The meeting is Mashinini’s first public appearance since June 16.
2 August, UWC students convene a meeting to express solidarity with the students of Soweto and decide to embark on a boycott of classes.
4 August, Police begin a new clampdown on student leaders. There are mass arrests and SSRC committee members never spend two days at the same place. The students are out in the streets in their school uniforms and, in the first instance, try to persuade adults not to go to work. A stretch of the railway line to Johannesburg is damaged overnight and trains to the city are cancelled. Buses that race through the township are stoned by the youth. Organised by the SSRC, the students then joined with many of the adults who stayed at home that day and marched in a column towards Johannesburg. Pictures taken from the air show protesters marching round obstacles, pressing forward in their desire to get to the police headquarters at John Vorster Square to present their demand that the detained students be released.
5 August, Students call upon workers to stay at home and set up roadblocks to reinforce their call.
6 August, The Hewat Teacher Training College in Athlone is set alight in solidarity with the University of Western Cape (UWC) boycotters.
6 August, Schools are burnt down in Ga-Rankuwa and Hammanskraal.
8 August, Students march through Montshiwa township, near Mafeking, and burn down the Legislative Assembly of Bophutatswana. The homes of Lucas Mangope and other cabinet ministers are placed under heavy police guard and hundreds of men, women and youth detained.
9 August, The Bantu Administration Board complex at Pinetown (Durban) is destroyed by fire and at least five other schools are set alight.
11 August, Black pupils from Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga in Cape Town hold marches in solidarity with the Soweto students. The Langa students march with placards through their township streets accompanied by their teachers who try to keep order. Students are also under police surveillance and 33 people are shot dead, among them 18 year old Xolile Mosi. The police stop the Gugulethu march and students are told to disperse in eight minutes. The students stand their ground and are eventually showered with tear gas. 25 – 30 people are arrested. The determined crowd marches on and demands the release of detainees from the Gugulethu police station. A number of student leaders at UWC and other community leaders are arrested and detained at Victor Verster prison, near Paarl.
12 August, Rioting reachs a new peak. At Langa and Guguletu attempts are made to stop workers leaving for work and riot squad cars that arrived to stop this action are attacked and damaged. Police fire at the crowd through the mesh windows of the wrecked cars. Young children request donations of petrol from cars to make petrol bombs. Students at the Esselen Park High School in Worcester demonstrate in front of the school and are tear-gassed and baton charged. UCT students march towards the city centre giving the Black Power Salute to black people passing until the police stop them. 73 students were arrested. In Bellville, 600 Coloured students march from the Bellville Training College and clash with police. At UWC, a poster parade is broken up by police. Poster bearers are arrested because of messages such as, ‘Sorry Soweto, Kruger is a pig’ (a reference to Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger), and ‘The Revolution is Coming’. On the night of 12 August, any administrative buildings, beerhalls, bottlestores or shops that have not yet been gutted are destroyed. Some R2-million worth of damage is done in 36 hours of fighting.
14 August, There are more reports of arson by youth in the black townships.
21 August, Minister of Police Jimmy Kruger tells a Nationalist audience: ’He know his place and, if not, I’ll tell him. The Blacks always say, "We shall overcome", but I say we shall overcome.’
22 August, The funeral of Xolile Mosi is scheduled to take place in Langa. The Magistrate of Wynberg orders that the funeral be restricted to parents and close relatives. Mosi’s fellow students want a mass funeral procession and defy the ban. The youth clash with the police at the graveside and retreat to the school ground where they are teargassed by police.
23 August, A statement by the pupils of Athlone High School condemns police brutality, inferior education, segregation laws and the plight of detainees.
Tsietsi Mashinini, the second president of the SSRC, who has been in office for only five weeks, leaves South Africa with R500 reward offered by police for his capture.
A demonstration at Guguletu is called to commemorate the death of another young pupil, Mvuseleli Tleko, aged thirteen. A large crowd gathers and stones are thrown at a bus. Tear gas and a baton charge are used to disperse them. The second event occurs in nearby Bonteheuwel. Students at the three high schools organise a demonstration in sympathy with Soweto to coincide with the first day of a general strike called by the SSRC in Johannesburg.
24 August, Pupils of Bonteheuwel High School hold a peaceful demonstration in the school grounds. They carry placards expressing sympathy with fellow scholars in other areas. The atmosphere of the demonstration is jovial rather than aggressive. The Riot Squad arrives in mesh-protected vehicles wearing camouflage battle dress and were armed with shotguns, rifles, and teargas guns. Immediately the principal asks them to leave. They order him to stand aside. The commanding officer orders his men to line up and, without warning, tear gas is fired at the children. The children are then baton charged.
30 August, About 600 students from five secondary schools decide to march to Bonteheuwel. On the way they are confronted by four riot squad vans. A reporter on the Muslim News describes what happened: ’Some students appeal for calm, as they did not want to provoke police action. Meanwhile a member of the riot squad read out something to the students, which is incomprehensible. According to some students on the scene the riot squad aimed tear gas canisters at the students before the order to disperse is given. One student said, "They did not release the tear gas to disperse us but were aiming the canisters to hurt us." When the tear gas took effect among the students the riot squad batoncharged them. There is general panic as students fled in all directions.’
September, Students at Ohlango High School (KwaMashu, Durban) stage a march and held a protest rally at the sports stadium.
September-October, Khotso Seatlholo and Micky Tsagae (also a member of the SSRC) establish an urban guerrilla group, which becomes known as the Suicide Squad.
1 September, About 2 000 Langa, Nyanga and Gugulethu students march without notice or publicity through the Cape Town CBD unhindered.
5 September, The SSRC also hold large-scale meetings with hostel dwellers to inform them about the intended strike and enlist their support. The township is then informed in a leaflet addressed to parents ("co-operate with us"), workers ("stay away from work"), and hostels ("do not fight!"). The strike is not aimed overtly at industry and is obviously designed to build township solidarity.
17 September, Youth in different parts of the country hold protest rallies against US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s visit to South Africa and meetings with South African government officials.
October, Intensive anti-drink campaign is launched by the youth. It forbids people from drinking alcohol in shebeens.
17 October, Mass turnout at funeral of Dumsani Mbatha, another student leader killed by police.
22 October, Teachers and pupils are arrested at the Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto.
24 October, The Jabulani police station is badly damaged by the Suicide Squad.
27 October, Shebeens are ordered to close down.
17-29 October, In a statement on behalf of the SSRC, Khotso Seatlholo says, "We have the full right to stand up and reject the whole system of apartheid. We cannot accept it as our fathers did. We are not carbon copies of our fathers. Where they failed, we will succeed. The mistakes they made will never be repeated. They carried the struggle up to where they could. We are very grateful to them. But now the struggle is ours. The ball of liberation is in our hands. The Black student will stand up fearlessly and take arms against a political system ... We shall rise up and destroy a political ideology that is designed to keep us in a perpetual state of oppression and subserviency.’
23 November, Eight more banning orders are served, mostly on White students connected with Black labour organisations.
24 November, School pupils from Soweto who had fled to Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho to escape continuous police searches reject the government’s amnesty offer which expired on 22 November. An estimated 700 have fled since June, more than 500 of them to Botswana, whose government has requested international assistance in the matter.
30 November, Some 700 students and youth have been detained as a result of police efforts to stem the revolt.
31 December, Prime Minister B.J. Vorster says: "The storm has not struck yet. We are only experiencing the whirlwinds that go before it."
22 January, Khotso Seathlolo, president of the SSRC at the age of eighteen, is shot and wounded in a car chase and escapes to Botswana. A number of his executive committee colleagues are arrested. A commentator says, ’... this is the fourth time in as many months that the SSRC appeared to be dead.’
February-March, There is confusion over examination boycott as some youth heed the call, whereas others want to sit for the examination.
27 February, Daniel Sechaba Montsitsi, fourth president of SASM, tells The World newspaper in an interview that, until he joined SASM, he knew nothing of the ANC or the PAC.
16 June, First anniversary of The Soweto Revolt is commemorated.
11 August, It is announced that Security Police have arrested Dan S. Montsitsi, a SSRC leader, in connection with plans to commemorate the Soweto uprisings. Four white students are also arrested. Stellenbosch University announces that it is to open its doors to black, coloured and Asian students for all post-graduate degree courses and will also accept non-white undergraduates for courses not offered at their own universities.
23 August, Eight more banning orders are served, mostly on White students connected with Black labour organisations.
31 August, Mpho Mashinini is acquitted on charges under The Terrorism Act
12 September, Steve Biko dies in police detention.
17 September, The death of Steve Biko, founder and first president of SASO and later honorary president of the BPC, provokes international condemnation and statements of concern from, among others, US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldeheim. South African Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger’s statement in Parliament that Biko’s death ’leaves me cold’ is broadcast around the world.
October, SASO is banned.
17 October, Sipho Malaza, a black high school student, dies in Security Police custody. His death is the twenty-first death in detention since March 1976.
22 October, Teachers and pupils are arrested at the Morris lsaacson high school in Soweto.
December, Only about 3 000 pupils out of a possible 27 000 pupils applied for re-admission to Soweto schools.
The Education and Training Act is passed. It replaces the much reviled Bantu Education Act of 1953. African education is now under the Department of Education and Training (DET).
23 November, The Azanian Students Organisation (AZASO) is formed at a conference held at the Edendale Ecumenical Lay Centre near Pietermaritzburg. The new student movement is aligned with the Azanian People Organisation (AZAPO).
1980 - 2000
Cape town coloured and black schools initiate boycotts of classes. They are joined by students in Durban.
The De Lange Commission is instituted to conduct an in-depth investigation into education and to make recommendations for an education policy for South Africa.
The De Lange Report recommends a single department of education for all South Africans, education of equal quality for all, and a changed schooling structure. The rcommendations are met with mixed reactions.
COSAS declares itself in favour of suspending the boycott of black schools in order to regroup forces and formulate a new strategy. Student committees suspend their boycotts.
July, SANSCO holds its first national congress.
A two-week boycott of cafeteria food, which is said to be high in price and low in quality, is organised by the SANSCO-affiliated SRC at University Durban-Westville
The government issues a White Paper which accepts the De Lange Report's guiding principles but rejects it recommendations, particularly concerning a single education department for all.
The government places more emphasis on technical education. It encourages industries to set up training programmes to 'upgrade' black workers. Trade unions also begin to play a more active role in providing education for workers.
Student protests join broader protests against elections for the new Tricameral Parliament. Start of the Education Charter Campaign.
SANSCO formally accepts the Freedom Charter as its political manifesto.
July, The Azanian Student Movement is formed. The new organisation is alligned with Black Consciousness.
The National Policy for General Education Affairs Act is passed. This brings education structures into line with the new constitution of 1983. A 'general affairs' Department of Education is established to oversee education budgets, teachers' salaries and registration, and curricula. Parallel to this Department, 'own affairs' Departments of Education and Culture are established for whites, coloureds and Indians. Black education remains under the DET. Education in the ten 'homelands' have their own departments within the homeland governments.
SANSCO holds its congress in Soweto. The congress, attended by 700 students from 34 universities, technikons and colleges. Simpiwe Mguduso is elected SANSCO's new president.
April, A national SANSCO women conference is held.
July, The Education Charter Campaign (ECC) is launched in the Orange Free State at a meeting of 6000 students, workers and youth. The meeting, supported by local trade unions and parent associations, elects a national coordinating committee.
December, The third SANSCO GSC adopts the theme ”Organising for People's Education.” The theme replaces the previous year's theme, ”Education towards Democracy”.
The Soweto College of Education is closed after students boycott lectures and demand the suspension of two allegedly racist lectures.
21 July, State of Emergency declared in 44 magisterial districts. It is a precursor to the nationwide state of emergency declared the following year.
August, COSAS is banned.
24 September, Batandwa Ndondo, a former University of Transkei (UNITRA) SRC leader, is murdered, allegedly by police.
National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) is formed at a national conference held in Durban.
The Private Schools Act is made into law. This Act officially allows racially mixed private schools.
January, Soweto pupils return to school in January in response to a call from the Soweto Parents Crisis' Committee.
12 June, Four days before the 10th anniversary of the June 16th Soweto uprising, President PW Botha declares a nationwide state of emergency. The declaration and the far reaching powers it grants the security forces is renewed annually until 8 June 1990 when it is finally allowed to expire.
December, Azanian Student Organisation (AZASO) changes its name to SANSCO.
31 July-3 August, International Student Conference in Solidarity with the Struggle of the Students of Southern Africa, is held in London.
National Education Crisis Committee (NECC) is banned.
December, SANSCO affiliates are banned under new regulations at Rhodes and Wits Universities
COSAS and NECC declare themselves unbanned.
SANSCO and its branches and affiliates publicly declare themselves unbanned when a defiance campaign to defy amongst other things, restrictions on organisations is launched.
December, SANSCO convenes its eighth congress at the University of Western Cape to celebrate its tenth anniversary and defies its banning. The recently released African National Congress (ANC) leader, Ahmed Kathrada, gives a keynote address.
South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) is formed.
2 February, FW de Klerk unbans the ANC, PAC and a host of other anti-apartheid organisations and announces that Nelso Mandela will be released. Mandela walks to freedom on 11 February and a protracted period of negotiations begins, culminating in South Africa's first free and fair elections in April 1994. Nelson Mandela is elected South Africa's first black president.
May, President Nelson Mandela appoints Prof. Sibusiso Bhengu as South Africa's first black Minister of Education in a single, non-racial national Department of Education.
17 February, Following violent student protests in Cape Town on 16 February, President Mandela warns in Parliament that he will not tolerate anarchy developing in the country.
The Department of Education establishes a higher education division and publishes Education White Paper 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education.
19 December, Higher Education Act is signed into law by President Mandela. The Act ends centuries of racism in higher education.
May, Prof. Kader Asmal is appointed Minister of Education in President Thabo Mbeki's cabinet.
January, A series of mergers inaugurate new higher education institutions:University of Limpopo (University of the North and the Medical University of South Africa); Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (University of Port Elizabeth and Vista University, Port Elizabeth campus); University of Johannesburg(Rand Afrikaans University and Technikon Witwatersrand); Cape Peninsula University of Technology (Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).
9 May, Higher Education South Africa is established out of a merger of the South African Universities Vice-Chancellors Association and the Committee of Technikon Principals.
July, The Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science is established out of merger of Border Technikon, Eastern Cape Technikon, and the University of Transkei. The process of merging higher education institutions is completed. A total of 36 institutions have been merged or incorporated to leave 22 consolidated instituitions of higher education in South Africa.
16 June, South African youth celebrates 30 years since 1976 uprisings.
February, Education Minister Naledi Pandor announces plans to introduce a pledge to be learnt and recited by all South African school goers. The announcement generates wide debate and the initiative is currently being reviewed.
South Africa is outraged by revelations of racism and inhumane treatment of black workers by white students at Free State University. A video showing the degrading treatment meted out to black staff is widely broadcast and leads to the appointment of a ministerial commission of inquiry to investigate racism in education.
17 April, South Africa commemorates 350 years since the founding of the first school for slaves brought to the cape in the Dutch ship, the Amersfoort.

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