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Sibusiso Saul 'Minus' Mashinini commemorated with heritage plaque

Nume Mashinini, brother to late June 16, 1976, student leader Sibusiso Mashinini, who skipped the country and died in exile. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Nume Mashinini, brother to late June 16, 1976, student leader Sibusiso Mashinini, who skipped the country and died in exile. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Published Jun 19, 2022

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Seth Mazibuko, 1976 student uprising leader together with the late Saul Mashinini in front of the heritage plague in Orlando East Soweto. Picture Bhekikhaya Mabaso.

Johannesburg - The commemoration of Youth Day, on Thursday June 16, saw the unveiling of a heritage plaque, mounted outside the Orlando East home of one of the leaders of the Soweto Uprising, Sibusiso Saul “Minus” Mashinini.

One of the leaders of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, Mashinini left the country to join Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) – the armed wing of the ANC – at the age of 15, and was part of the June 16 detachment, the first MK detachment to graduate in military training, after the 1976 student uprising. After spending half of his life in exile, he died in mysterious circumstances in Lusaka, Zambia. He was later buried at Avalon Cemetery, Soweto.

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Nume Mashinini, who is the younger brother to Saul, said the plaque was awarded by the City of Johannesburg, in Saul’s honour.

“This is significant to us as the family because the sacrifice that my brother made is finally being recognised, notwithstanding the fact that his death was mysterious. We are still yet to hear the truth behind his death. We feel proud that the City of Johannesburg finally recognised his sacrifices. To think that he left when he was 15 years old and stayed in exile for fifteen years. He was not one of those people who enjoyed refugee status in exile. He was active. He was the engine of the liberation Struggle,” said Nume.

The commemoration, which was supported by the June 16 Youth Development Foundation, began with a gathering of friends and family at the family home, and then proceeded to the Orlando East Recreational Hall, in Soweto.

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Seth Mazibuko, who was the youngest member of the South African Students' Organisation (SASO) that planned and led the Soweto uprising, said when this time comes every year, it is difficult for him, but what is important is that the commemoration keeps names such as Saul Mashinini alive.

“It is important that we commemorate our fighters in this way. This plaque is more than a remembrance. Saul Mashinini is one of the leaders in 1976, even before June 16, actually, who was at our school in Orlando and the school started boycotting classes before the day. On the June 13, we planned the upcoming uprising from the Orlando East Recreational Hall. When some of us got arrested, Saul and other comrades went into exile and that’s, unfortunately, where he passed on. It is difficult for me because it takes me back,” said Mazibuko.

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