Where Rainbows Meet (WRM), a non-profit organisation in Vrygrond held a Youth Day celebration on Wednesday Jun 16 to create awareness of the history of the “youth warriors that fought against the injustices and inequality and the uprising of Soweto to do away with Bantu Education,” said founder Mymoena Scholtz.
At the event there were motivational speakers and youth showed off their dancing, poetry and singing skills.
“Let us not forget our warriors that stood tall and strong in order for others to achieve. Youth Day we celebrate the success but also remember those that fought for our freedom and equality,” said Ms Scholtz.
Outlining what happened on June 16, 45 years ago, South African History Online (SAHO) writes that the the rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) had raised the political consciousness of many students while others joined the wave of anti-Apartheid sentiment within the student community. When the language of Afrikaans alongside English was made compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools in 1974, black students began mobilising themselves.
On June 16 1976, between 3 000 and 10 000 students mobilised by the South African Students Movement’s Action Committee, supported by the BCM, marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium.
On their pathway they were met by heavily armed police who fired teargas and later live ammunition on demonstrating students. This resulted in a widespread revolt that turned into an uprising against the government. While the uprising began in Soweto, it spread across the country and carried on until the following year.
(Source: South African History Online)