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This book:

  • Analyses the ideology, politics and organisational features of SASO (South African Students’ Association) and their intellectual, political and social determinants.
  • Analyses the role played by SASO in the educational, political and social spheres and the factors that shaped its activities.
  • Assesses SASO’s contribution to the popular struggle against apartheid education and race, class and gender oppression.
  • Is an important source of information for schools, libraries and universities.
  • The original text has been extensively revised to make the emergence, ideas and activities of the Black Consciousness movement, and specifically the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO), available to a wider audience.


Book information

ISBN: 978-1-920222-39-0

Trim size: 228 x 152mm

Binding: paperback

Page count: 168 pages

Imagery: F/C & B/W illustrations

Cost: R 250.00

Genre: Politics

Date of publication: November 2009



Some 40 years ago, in 1968, workers and students in France took to the streets in battles against the conservative Gaullist regime. University students in Britain occupied campuses, calling for greater democracy and student rights. The Prague Spring saw Czechoslovakian patriots take on Soviet tanks in an attempt to overthrow Russian domination. In the United States, mass opposition to the war in Vietnam and the Black civil rights and Black power movements reached new heights. In South Africa, the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) was launched under the leadership of Stephen Bantu Biko.

Black South African students were not just victims of apartheid but were also thinkers, conscious actors and historical agents. In the face of an authoritarian and repressive political order, SASO turned Black students into an organised social force, taught them about politics and the role they should play, was a catalyst of collective action, notably for the Soweto uprising, and contributed significantly to the erosion of the apartheid social order and to educational and social transformation in South Africa.


Dr Saleem Badat

Dr Saleem Badat is Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University. Between 1999 and 2006, he was Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Higher Education, which advises the Minister of Education on higher education policy. During the 1980s, he occupied leadership positions in local and national student political organisations and the National Education Coordinating Committee; he was also coordinator of Grassroots community newspaper.