n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Slagoffers van 1976 : moraliteit en wetenskapsbeoefening in geskiedskrywing

Volume 45, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


In the writing of history the purpose of such enterprise often contributes towards the use of the discipline for secondary social and political purposes. History, used as ideology and inspiration, becomes a self-justified myth and excludes the opportunity of learning from it. In the historical representation of the events of June 1976 several historical myths were created and perpetuated. These representations contributed to the development of social memory, utilised to bolster the identity of oppression and justify opposition to the political dispensation in South Africa. This social memory made Hector Petersen the victim of police brutality, but ignored the brutal murder of Dr Edelstein, the benevolent social worker working amongst Soweto youth. This article explores the history of events in 1976 leading to the death of two people, one less publicised than the other. The myth in connection with the death of Hector Petersen was perpetuated by historians writing on the events of 1976, despite the factual findings of the Cillé Commission.

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