In 1976 high school pupils who were involved in what became known as the Soweto Uprising made their mark as they stood together against apartheid. When Afrikaans and English were made compulsory in schools in 1974, students began mobilising themselves through the South African Students Organisation (SASO) with the support of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). On 16 June 1976 thousands of pupils marched peacefully to protest against the government’s plans to implement Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools, with the march meant to conclude at a rally at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. On their way there students were met by
heavily armed police who fired tear gas and later live ammunition on pupils. This resulted in widespread unrest that turned into a country-wide uprising against the government. Today, 40 years on, to commemorate Youth Day, on Thursday June 16, a telecommunications company volunteered to visit Christel House South Africa, in Ottery to advise youngsters about business choices and assisted the little ones with arts and crafts.
* A new building is coming up at Christel House South Africa, in Ottery, which will be used as a computer laboratory, as well as an arts and skills development room.
The building is being sponsored by a telecommunications company and some of their staff also spent the day at the school last Friday, June 10, when they trained children in business to prepare them for employment.
The employees were es-corted around the school where some gave business management lectures to the high school pupils while the others went to the junior school to assist with arts and crafts, games and a wide range of activities they designed around making learning fun and entertaining.
Rene van Niekerk said they welcomed the gift of a new building.
“We are not only getting an information technology centre, but also shoes, bags and lunch boxes for the children.”
Michelle Wiener, Grade 1 teacher and principal of the Foundation Phase, said the building would also be used for Xhosa and Afrikaans lessons. “We are having classes all over, so it will be good to have a proper classroom to teach these languages.”
She said this would help integrate pupils who spoke different languages. “Now it will be great if they can converse in each others’ language.”