South African Students' Organisation

The South African Students' Organisation (SASO) was a body of South African students who resisted apartheid through political action. The organisation was formed in 1968, spearheaded by Steve Biko, and played a major role in the Black Consciousness Movement.


Up until SASO's formation, the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) considered multi-racialism to be the solution to racism and apartheid. The SASO differed from this viewpoint, advocating a black identity separate from any white or multi-racial identity, and succeeded in attracting large numbers of black, coloured, and Indian youths.

In 1972, the organisation was central to founding the Black Allied Workers' Union.[1] In 1974, nine leaders from SASO were arrested and tried for conspiring to overthrow the state by unconstitutional means. The so-called "SASO Nine" were Saths Cooper, Strini Moodley, Aubrey Mokoape, Mosiuoa Lekota, Nkwenkwe Nkomo, Zithulele Cindi, Muntu Myeza, Pandelani Nefolovhodwe and Kaborone Sedibe.[2] After a 17-month trial, the nine were convicted and sentenced to between five and 10 years on Robben Island.[3]

On 19 October 1977, the organisation was banned, and any association with it became illegal. No efforts were made for this group to be turned into an underground movement, however, Black People's Convention and SASO`s political objectives, philosophy and ideology were carried on by the new generation of black consciousness organizations such as Azapo. Most of the SASO trialists went on to hold office in Azapo, Notably, Saths Cooper, Pandelani Nefholovhodwe , Mosibudi Mangena and Strike Thokoane all became presidents of Azapo at some point. .[4]

Further readingEdit

  • Halisi, C. R. D. Black Political Thought in the Making of South African Democracy, Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-253-33589-2

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The road to democracy in South Africa (PDF). South African Democracy Education Trust. 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  2. ^ Veli Mbele, "Remembering Ingelosi Yomhlaba", Pambazuka News, 25 July 2012.
  3. ^ Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane, Bavusile Maaba and Nkosinathi Biko. "The Black Consciousness Movement" (PDF). The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 2.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Anonymous (30 March 2011). "South African Student Organisation (SASO)". Retrieved 9 May 2016.

External linksEdit