16 June 2014 by Kolosa Vuso

Youth Day: June 16, always remembered

June 16 marks a special day on the South African calendar – it’s a day that honours youth who fought for a fair education system during apartheid, as well as the role of youth in the liberation of South Africa.

South African youths give their thoughts on Youth Day. Photo courtesy of Irving Martínez

What was meant to be a peaceful march by school pupils in Soweto on 16 June 1976 against Afrikaans as a language of instruction in township schools, ended in tragedy when police opened fire on the students.

Today this is known as the Soweto Uprising, and Youth Day remembers those students who lost their lost their lives that day.

Here, some South African youths give their thoughts on Youth Day and how they plan to mark the day:

Motlalekgotso Tsoho

Motlalekgotso Tsoho

I associate the day with sacrifice, selflessness and pride. 

I celebrate Youth Day because it’s important to remember and teach youngsters that freedom was not delivered on a silver platter; we have come far. 

Rudzani Munonoka

Rudzani Munonoka

The day is a celebration, honouring the youth who fought for their educational rights. 

The day is a huge celebration for me, if I’m not working, because that’s how I celebrate their struggle and bravery.

Shaun Demmer

Shaun Demmer

Thousands of youth marched because the government at the time made Afrikaans a compulsory learning medium in township schools. 

Today I celebrate and impart knowledge to those who think it’s just another holiday. 

Livhuwani Maswoba

Livhuwani Maswoba

The day is a reflection of what happened in 1976 [Soweto Uprising]. I associate the day with wearing a uniform and lighting candles. 

I celebrate Youth Day by proudly wearing my school uniform because I can now go to any school I wish to get a good education. I’m grateful for what the youth went through for us to live better lives.

Stuart Buchanan

Stuart Buchanan

As much as I view it as a tragedy, it also reveals the incredibly resilient spirit of South Africa's youth. 

I admire the strength with which they faced apartheid forces on that day. I think it's important to remember that.

Lungi Ndlovu

Lungi Ndlovu

The day is about the youth and how they stood up for their rights in 1976. I associate it with struggle, sacrifice and the power of a gathering of like-minded people. 

As such, the day for me involves a Youth Day extravaganza at my 

Nicole Walters
church, where we remember June 16 and also have a lot of fun, games, singing and prizes. We just have good, clean fun. 

Nicole Walters

I associate Youth Day with freedom, democracy, justice, pride and history.  

Category: Culture & History

comments powered by Disqus