In June, we celebrate Youth Day
South Africa ranks as one of the countries with the most public holidays in the world, and while everyone enjoys an extra day off from work or school, it is important that we don’t forget the significance and meaning behind these special days.
On June 16, South Africa celebrates Youth Day, which honours and pays tribute to the memory of the brave school children who lost their lives in the fight for human rights. Of course, it isn’t just a time for reflection; the day presents the opportunity to focus on the issues that affect our youth today and implement long-lasting initiatives to empower them.
On 16 June 1976, black students walked out of classrooms into the streets of Soweto to protest against the racist laws that stood in the way of their education. They were protesting against laws that made Afrikaans compulsory in black township schools throughout the country. The use of local languages was prohibited whereas the constitution supported that Afrikaans and English be made the official languages of the country. What started out as a peaceful rally turned into a violent confrontation with the SAPS.
We reflect on this day in history with popular quotes that reflect of how the racist apartheid government sought to oppress students and how people fought for freedom.
No matter how we choose to spend this public holiday as South Africans, remember to take the time to reflect on the incredible sacrifices of the students who fought for equal rights and think of ways in which you can help to empower and uplift the future generations of our country. Happy Youth Day!