South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Interview Segment

Yusuf Omar interviewed by Bob Vassen
September 6, 2006 East Lansing, Michigan, United States.


"It just needed that spark ... the emotions were very high, but there was panic too, panic from our parents, because there was no holding us back." [2:35]

Yusuf Omar, a student in Fordsburg, an Indian township of Johannesburg, at the time of the Soweto uprising, explained how Indian students were involved in their own schools, for example by secretly printing leaflets on the school mimeograph machine.

Yusuf Omar was born in 1960 and grew up in Fordsburg, an Indian township of Johannesburg. He recalls the security police beating up his father in front of him when he was five years old. Ahmed Timol, his high school science teacher, had a big impact on Omar. In 1971, Timol was detained and thrown out the 10th floor window of the prison by the police; Omar helped to carry his casket in a large political funeral. Omar works for the Department of Foreign Affairs and currently is the South African Consul General in Chicago.

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