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SAHA T-shirt archive, photographed for Common, curated by Khanya Mashabela for Common, 6 May–26 July 2023. Image courtesy of A4 Arts Foundation.
Title Each One Teach One Date 1980s Type Archival garment
Associated organisations Congress of South African Students (COSAS)
Dimensions 55 x 74 cm


"Each one teach one" is an African-American proverb, adopted as a motto by many organisations.

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) was established in June 1979 as a national organisation to represent the interests of Black school students in the wake of the Soweto uprisings. COSAS promoted the formation of youth congresses to serve the interests of young workers and unemployed youth. In 1983, COSAS played a key role in the formation of regional United Democratic Front (UDF) structures.

By 1985, student boycotts had rendered schools ungovernable and mirrored the collapse of the Black Local Authorities in townships, resulting in the formation of the National Education Crisis Committee in 1986. It is estimated that COSAS was supported by almost 3 million students – more than half of the country’s Black student population.

As the State of Emergency was declared by the South African government in 1985, COSAS was banned. Despite being banned, COSAS continued to play an active role, aiding in the establishment of the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO) in Cape Town in 1987.