On 16 June 1976, black students walked out of their classrooms into the streets of Soweto to protest against the racist laws that stood in the way of their education. They were protesting against laws that made Afrikaans compulsory in black township schools throughout the country. The use of local languages was prohibited whereas the then constitution supported that Afrikaans and English be made the official languages of the country. What started out as a peaceful rally turned into a violent confrontation with the police. Mshengu also emphasized that access to education can improve the economic outcomes of citizens and determine the prospects of future generations, especially in rural areas and townships.