Arts, Culture & Heritage

Tsietsi Mashinini

Last Updated: November 6, 2023
Artist

Johannes Phokela

A Brief History

This sculpture commemorates the life of Tsietsi Mashinini, a key young activist who led the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

Mashinini was a charismatic, theatrical student and leader. He was instrumental in organising and leading the student uprising, which led to him becoming the 1st president of the Soweto Students Representative Council to coordinate events after June 16th. In the days after the uprising, he evaded the security police by disguising himself in many ways — a stylish woman, a workman and a priest. Mashinini eventually went into exile.

Description

Bronze statue of young activist mounted on concrete plinth with heritage plaque on the plinth. Mashinini has his right fist raised as a symbol of solidarity, which is a gesture seen in photographs of Tsietsi Mashinini that the artist Johannes Phokela used as reference when creating the sculpture.

 

The sculpture is located opposite the Morris Isaacson High School and forms part of the June 16 Trail through Soweto that traces the route taken by protesting students in 1976.

Artwork Signage

This sculpture commemorates the life of Tsietsi Mashinini, a key young activist who led the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

Mashinini was a charismatic, theatrical student and leader. He was instrumental in organising and leading the student uprising, which led to him becoming the 1st president of the Soweto Students Representative Council to coordinate events after June 16th. In the days after the uprising, he evaded the security police by disguising himself in many ways — a stylish woman, a workman and a priest. Mashinini eventually went into exile.

Location & Address

Mputhi Street cnr Pula Street, Jabavu, Soweto, 1809. Located on a wide pathway out front of June 16 Memorial Acre, opposite the Morris Isaacson High School.