The Hector Pieterson Monument and Museum, Soweto

The Hector Pieterson (also spelt Petersen or Pietersen), was opened on 16 June 2002 near the place where he was shot in Orlando West, Soweto. The museum is funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Johannesburg City Council and it has become a major attraction for anybody visiting Soweto. Unfortunately, the day I was there an election rally was in progress, and the museum was closed. But I managed to get back there on 28 April and take a look around and as a result am going to replace my original photographs. Its difficult to get any sense of the happening of 16 June 1976 because so many changes have been made in the area. Yet the Museum Precinct has an aura about it that is difficult to describe. The most jarring note in the Museum is the courtyard with the plaques strewn about it. Those were real people once, and some of them do not even have names. The iconic photograph that symbolises the 16 June uprising is by Sam Nzima, photographer The World newspaper in Johannesburg. It shows the dying Hector carried by a fellow student, Hector’s sister is running alongside. The line of grass connects the entrance of the museum where Hector Pietersen was shot.
Hector Pieterson is buried in Avalon Cemetery and I am happy to say that I found his grave, but I was unable to find the grave of Hastings Ndlovu who supposedly was the first one killed on that fateful day.

The museum can be found at the intersection of Pela Main Road and Kumalo Main Road. Or Google Earth co-ordinates S 26°14'4.96", E 27°54'30.10" or download the KMZ file and is open from 10am, entrance is R25 for adults.

© DR Walker 2011-2013. Created 26 April 2011. Updated 28 April 2011