Saturday, September 30, 2023 - 00:00

Johannesburg City and the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation erected a blue plaque at the Donaldson Orlando Community Centre on 15th June ahead of Youth Day on 16th June 2023. Flo Bird and Steve Groeneveld represented the JHF at the installation.

The blue plaque specifically remembers the significance of this centre in 1976 when the South African Students Movement, at a gathering here on 13th June 1976, elected an Action Committee to plan the March and its route for 16th June. Led by Tsietsi Mashinini, Seth Mazibuko, Sibongele Mthembu and Murphy Morobi, the protest was about the teaching at Soweto schools of Mathematics, History and Geography in Afrikaans and not using English as the medium of instruction. 16th June went down in liberation history as the day Soweto exploded in an uprising that took South Africa in a new route. 


Blue Plaque (Johannesburg Heritage Foundation)


The Donaldson Orlando Community Centre has an important history and was named and financed by the Donaldson Trust. Lieutenant colonel James Donaldson was the public spirited man who as early as 1932 realized that the new planned town of Orlando would need a central facility and hall for community gatherings. In 1936 he founded the Donaldson Trust for black social development. It was his goal to remove disabilities and improve living conditions for black people. Donaldson was clearly a remarkable man as he reacted in a practical way to his opposition to the downgrading of black peoples in the politics of the 1930s.

His support and funding of the Donaldson Community Centre in Orlando was the planting of a small accord that grew into a giant oak tree of protest and resistance.

The blue plaque now places the DOCC as a part of the June 16 Heritage Trail.

Note prepared by Kathy Munro, Blue Plaque Committee Chair

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - 21:52

Back to Notices

Disclaimer: Any views expressed by individuals and organisations are their own and do not in any way represent the views of The Heritage Portal.