What commenced as a peaceful and coordinated demonstration rapidly turned into a violent protest when police opened fire on students. Orlando West, the centre of the confrontation on the day, was transformed into a space of political contestation. For the first time, students claimed the streets and schools as their own. Soweto parents were shocked by these events, revealing an important generational divide. Thereafter, forging student and parent unity became a central objective of the liberation movement. This short history brings alive the sequence of events and delves into the significance the uprising had on South African politics.