Thirty-nine years ago on 19 October 1977, a day also known as "Black Wednesday", the apartheid regime clamped down on resistance. Newspapers, activists, and numerous organisations were banned and journalists jailed.
The Black People's Convention (BPC) was among the organisations banned by the apartheid government because "they were a threat to law and order".
The first secretary of the Black People's convention Sathasivian “Saths” Cooper, currently President of the International Union of Psychological Science and Vice President of International Social Science Council, shares with Stephen Grootes the memories of 19 October 1977.
I was in jail and incarcerated in the same cell block as former President Nelson Mandela.— Sathasivian “Saths” Cooper, President of the International Union of Psychological Science
It was an eerie period because a few weeks earlier Dullah Omar had brought the news that Steve Biko had been killed in detention.— Sathasivian “Saths” Cooper, President of the International Union of Psychological Science
Cooper says in those days news were not made available to prisoners. They only knew what was happening in the outside world through visitors.
He says it took them close to a month to realise that the organisation that they had created after the ban of political parties was no more.
Listen to Saths Cooper explain the heart breaking occurrences on Black Wednesday: