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 1974, nine leaders from SASO were arrested and tried for conspiring to overthrow the state by unconstitutional means. The so-called "SASO Nine" included Saths Cooper, Strini Moodley, Aubrey Mokoape, Mosiuoa Lekota, Nkwenkwe Nkomo, Zithulele Cindi, Eitan Mokpazee, Muntu Myeza, Pandelani Nefolovhodwe and Kaborane Sedibe. After a 17-month trial, the nine were convicted and sentenced to between 5 and 10 years on Robben Island.[1]

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 it did inspire future groups such as AZAPO and SANSCO.[2]

Further reading

For a more detailed chronological summary of SASO, visit:

See also


  • Halisi, C. R. D. Black Political Thought in the Making of South African Democracy, Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1999. xxi, 198 p. ; 24 cm. ISBN 0-253-33589-2 (alk. paper)
  1. Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane, Bavusile Maaba and Nkosinathi Biko. "The Black Consciousness Movement" (PDF). The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 2.
  2. Anonymous (2011-03-30). "South African Student Organisation (SASO)". Retrieved 2016-05-09.
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