I’ll have to confess, thoughts of my folks having lil Becks in 1976 probably didn’t even exist then.Hahah! But, at least I know enough about June 16 1976 to recite the story and reminisce about it. A lot has been said and claimed about this day in history, which is dubbed as Youth day in South Africa.
So it is said that the morning of the 16th of June 1976 began with peaceful protest march by youngsters (from Naledi Township, at the south western end of Soweto, collecting others on their route to Orlando East, the north eastern end of the vast complex) against the usage of Afrikaans as a standard medium of teaching in Black Schools in Soweto, but then abruptly intensified into a nation-wide riot, irrevocably revitalizing the struggle for liberation in South Africa.
The subsequent violence after the shootings that day became branded as The Soweto Uprising or Soweto Riots. Between 200 and 600 people died in the ferocity and thousands were injured. One of which was Hector Pieterson, a 12 year student who was killed by the Apartheid police. And has since then became the iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising. Now the question is, is the day of June 16 1976 still relevant in the 21st century? Well…very much so, or we wouldn’t be commemorating it each year in honour of the youth and also as a way of recalling all that was lost in the course of the Apartheid struggle.
In Kasi this is how we do it, well…how I did it. I rocked up in the morning, went to church to start yet a beautiful day. Left there inspired and embraced the rest of the day in a cheery mood by taking pictures of people whom also June 16 meant something for them. Take a look…
It is still remains relevant that young people even today should be watering and protecting and providing for that tree of liberation with their sweat. A lot has changed since June 1965, a democratic government is now in place, young people now have access to free education and gaps between the poor and the rich is gradually decreasing. Despite the progress over the years, social issues facing the youth still persist.
To many people this meaningful day means different things. To some June 16 is a celebration of victory against the apartheid regime, to others it’s just a mere holiday like any other, making this day a party to remember. Oh…and the memories I created on that day still continue….
All of these youngsters ha a lot to say about issues affecting them, one of the main ones being education and unemployment. A serios call to government to take note of youth values and leadership development thereof for the greater benefit of our country.
Whilst I acknowledge that I had balls of fun, filled with laugh-a-minute fest and amusement, I shall never forget the true meaning of it. For the older generation, the first experiencers of the Afrikaans onslaught, those who FOUGHT through the blood and sweat for the freedom we enjoy today, Youth Day serves as a poignant reminder of a powerful moment in history. And me,as a young person in 2013, still share the same sentiments.
June 16 indeed is a day to be forever enshrined in the country’s political memory. As I took a trip down memory lane,to mark The 37th anniversary of this day, I can proudly say I celebrated the bravery of those fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for me as a young person to be where I am today. Saying THANK YOU,THANK YOU, THAAAAAANK YOU!
In all parts, Kasi Nativist says: Young people of Mzansi, let us continue honouring the legacy left behind by watering the tree of our liberation with positive actions. Guess what I’m trying to say is stand up for something or fall for anything ;-)! Awe!!!