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Soweto Uprising and Battle of Orgreave (E338)

On June 16, 1976, a turning point in the great struggle to bring down the apartheid system in South Africa began. It was the Soweto Uprising, an uprising of the youth of the biggest and most important township of the South African people. There had been a long period of armed struggle conducted by the armed wing of the ANC but this uprising marked a significant change; the people of Soweto were now using their bodies, their voices and mass disobedience. The man who has written one of the best books on the subject is Dr Julian Brown, Assistant Professor of politics at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. He joined Sputnik from South Africa to tell us what happened 44 years ago, when teenagers and children went on a peaceful march and were met by police officers who, without warning, opened fire on them.

And on June 18, 1984, the Battle of Orgreave, in Yorkshire, took place, when the British state security ruthlessly confronted the National Union of Miners. It was an event which was to fundamentally change Britain forever. There were broken heads and many more broken hearts, and lots of lying, as the police were forced to compensate scores of people for brutally attacking them and then perjuring themselves in court. The whole affair changed the balance of power in Britain and a police force, which had hitherto been regarded as entirely benign, fair and impartial, was transformed into what was described as a mere instrument of State policy. John Dunn was a miner, a picketer and was also brutally attacked during the strike, which lasted an entire year. He is now an activist in the campaign to get justice for the miners of Orgreave and he joined Sputnik to tell us just what happened on that summer day in 1984.

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