“The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steve Biko.

Education also became a central factor and the driving force in the 1960’s and 70’s. It is noteworthy that many repressive laws were passed, but none had the effect that Bantu Education had; thus provoking a cohesive response on June 16, 1976.

The youth of ’76, characterised by powerful campaigns championed by the likes of Steve Biko and Tsietsie Mashinini amongst others, knew very well that through Bantu Education their futures were being directly and decisively tempered with. School teachers, revolutionized by leaders of the liberation movement, also played a major part in the rejection of an oppressive education system.

This epoch was the period of the diversification of the struggle, influenced by various factors including the increased repression arising from the barrage of oppressive legislation, which also saw the banning of the liberation movements and the arrest of much of its leadership, including Nelson Mandela.

This led to the emergence of organizations such as the National Union of South Africa Students (NUSAS), South African Students Movement (SASM), the South Africa Student Organization (SASO), as well as the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), amongst others. Many of these organisations were driven by the ideology of Black Consciousness, which played a key politicizing role ahead of June 16, 1976.

It is this generation that carried the baton of exile, forcing its agenda on liberation movements; hence funnelling and concentrating their exposure to education and experiences into what would later become the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College.