Sharpville: The Death of Jacob Dlamini by Jacob Dlamini

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The other Sharpeville and the making of South African pasts

Jacob Dlamini was among 50 people, four of them town councillors, killed around the Vaal Triangle townships of Sharpeville, Sebokeng, Boipatong and Bophelong that bitter Spring day on September 3, 1984. The police were responsible for killing many of the dead but some, like Dlamini, were killed by groups of residents protesting against unpopular councils such as the Lekoa Town Council. September 3, at least six months before ANC president Oliver Tambo called for South African townships to be rendered ungovernable, marked the start of an uprising that was to lead, by December 1984, to the collapse of the Lekoa Town Council and, the following year, the collapse of Black Local Authorities around the country, and the declaration of a state of emergency. Few people would have mourned the demise of Dlamini’s council, voted into office in late 1983 by only 12% of eligible voters in Sharpeville. But many would have mourned or been touched by his death.

A meditation on the death of the his namesake and the place of violence in the South African resistance struggle.

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