BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Hastings Ndlovu
By Lucille Davie and Ray Maota
Hastings Ndlovu, born in 1961, died on 16 June 1976 during South Africa's Soweto student uprisings. He was just 15, a schoolboy who had joined the protests against Bantu education.
There are conflicting reports of who was the first fatality on the day. Another boy, 12-year-old Hector Pieterson, had also been shot by the police in the Soweto township of Orlando West. It's most likely that Hastings was the first child to be shot, although it's probable that Hector died before him.
Hector was declared dead when he arrived at Phefeni Clinic, while the doctor on duty at the then Baragwanath Hospital who treated Hastings, Malcolm Klein, puts the time of his death at around noon or shortly thereafter, several hours after he was shot.
Klein described the scene as "grisly". He said: "a bullet wound to one side of his head, blood and brains spilling out of a large exit wound on the other side, the gurgle of death in his throat. Only later would I learn his name: Hastings Ndlovu."
Hastings was survived by his parents, three sisters and brother. His sisters left the country soon after 16 June, but returned to Johannesburg a few years later.
He was buried with Hector at Avalon Cemetery in Johannesburg and the house he lived in, 7235 Thabete Street, Soweto, was issued a blue Heritage plaque on 16 June 2012 to commemorate his sacrifice.
One may ask why Hector is known worldwide while Hastings is not; the only answer that comes up is that there was no photographer on hand to record his shooting.