In honour of the Soweto Uprising, a student demonstration whose sad conclusion inspired the world to rise up against the apartheid state, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a three-nation African tour on Sunday.
Following the long tour of Africa by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his visit comes as Washington ramps up diplomatic efforts to offset Russian influence on the region. The senior US ambassador chose South Africa as his first destination.
South Africa is a leader in the developing world and has maintained its neutrality in the conflict in Ukraine by refusing to join Western calls to denounce Moscow, which had resisted apartheid before the end of white minority rule in 1994.
A memorial to students died in a 1976 protest that served as one of the turning points in the anti-apartheid campaign, the Hector Pieterson Museum, was opened to the public by Blinken, who also paid a visit to it. It was given that name in honour of the 12-year-old kid who was the first police shooting victim on June 16, 1976.