In a bid to commemorate 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising, in form of #youthsday, President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans especially the youths, to emulate the bravery, resilience and discipline displayed by the youths against the apartheid government of 1976.
The president who is expected to lay a wreath at the Hector Pieterson Memorial, will address thousands of youth meant to gather at the Orlando Stadium for the #youthsday to remember the legacy of the young people of 1976, who fought against the apartheid government.
Prior to his speech time, the president hailed the group which displayed ‘incredible courage and determination’ to liberate themselves and the country and asked the present day youths to follow such footsteps and unite to move the country forward.
Recalling series of violent protests launched by the youth in the recent years and how far it has gone to affect societal and economic growth the country, Zuma called on the youths to instead of bringing the country backwards through their violent acts, use education to change their lives and their communities.
The youth of Soweto 40 years back, took to the streets against the apartheid government’s decision to make Afrikaans the medium of instruction in black schools.
The #youthsday was not just to remember their struggle only about Afrikaans but the entire system of apartheid, in which black people were treated like second-class citizens in the place of their birth.
The president however assures the youth of a prompt action by the government to address the unemployment issues that has become a nightmare to the entire country.
The day is however not just to mark the event that took place on that day but also to celebrate the efforts made by young people today and the Basic Education Department has called on the community of Vuwani in Limpopo to remember the sacrifices made on that day to ensure that every child has a right to quality teaching and learning.
“We are worried that schools are going to close and there will be another break of no learning. If we [don’t] include that time that has been lost then those learners will be terribly affected. Let us please work together and think about the impact on our learners.” Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says.
Meanwhile, some of the students who took part at the memorale portest in 1976 recounted their experience. Former student leader Murphy Morobe said he remembers how he went numb when the police opened fire on students united in the fight against an oppressive education system.
“That fateful day is still alive in his memory as he relives it every year.”
Morobe added that he felt helpless as a leader of the march at that time. The first feeling of numbness he had was according to him, when he heard gunshots go off on the students.