|THE HECTOR PETERSON MUSEUM
POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL MUSEUM
The Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto commemorates the 566 people who died in the student uprising that followed the events of June 16, 1976. It is named for Hector Peterson, a 12-year-old boy who was the first person shot dead by police on the day that changed South Africa, and is located near a memorial to his death.
If you are lucky enough, you might have Antoinette Sithle giving tours at the hector Peterson Museum. Antoinette is the sister to the now famous Hector, shot and killed during the 16 June uprising in 1976.
The famous photograph of Makhubo carrying Hector is the only one of him, unconscious, with sister Antoinette running alongside.
The museum, which opened on 16 June 2002, follows the chronology of the build-up to 16 June 1976, starting with the way tensions were building among Soweto's school children, with one school after another going out on strike.
The museum stands two blocks from where Hector was shot and fell, on the corner of Moema and Vilakazi Streets in Orlando West, Soweto. There are houses on all four corners of that intersection, so the museum is located up the road in Kumalo Street.
Hector's mother, Dorothy Molefi, lives in nearby Meadowlands. "I'm very proud that there's a museum for Hector, and that children are learning about him in history," she says. "We still visit his grave every few months."
Hector's father died not long before the opening of the museum.
The small yet impressive museum is two storeys high, red brick with iron roof, to blend in with the community dwellings around it.
The wall opposite the door is filled with an enlarged photograph of marching children, with banners and posters protesting the use of Afrikaans in township schools.
The museum itself is arranged in a series of interleading spaces joined by ramps.
The curator is Ali Hlongwane gives a sensitive and heart rending history of the events leading up to the uprising.
Mon-Sat: 10:00 to 17:00
Sun: 10:00 to 16:00
8288 Maseko Street
Tel: (011) 536 0611