This article examines two cases of conflict from the Transkei region of South Africa. In the first instance in 1955, young men caught up in a stick fight after drinking beer were arrested, tried, and convicted, and they received harsh sentences of six months of hard labor. In the second case in 1961, boys at an elite school in Umtata protested their poor food and lodging arrangements, set fire to the school library, and threatened to kill the headmaster. While they were convicted, their punishment of caning was considered a very light sentence. These two cases illuminate the emerging nature of youthful resistance to the inception of home rule that was later to give rise to the Bantustans, as well as the response by state officials seeking to cope with the enlarging rural opposition to the structures of apartheid. The paradox of the strikingly different sentences is examined and explained.