Sacrifices of 1976 not forgotten

2016-08-18 06:00
 Deputy Minister of Human Settlement Zoe Kota-Fredericks encourage young people to take advantage of the opportunities they have today.  PHOTO: Mandla MAhashe

Deputy Minister of Human Settlement Zoe Kota-Fredericks encourage young people to take advantage of the opportunities they have today. PHOTO: Mandla MAhashe

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“There is no better way to honour the young people that died in the fight for freedom than to empower the youth of today.”

This sentiment was shared by the Deputy Minister of Human Settlement Zoe Kota- Fredericks, during an event that honoured women students and the class of 1976.

The event took place at Langa’s Johnson Ngwevela Hall, commemorating the death of a young schoolboy, Xolile Mosie, who died on the same day as the riots started about 40 years ago to last Thursday.

Whereas the Uprising had its genesis among the students of Soweto in June 1976, it was almost two months before their counterparts in the Cape launched their own riots, on August 11, with its first fatality being Mosie. Learners from the Cape’s three Black high schools, Langa, Fezeka and I.D. Mkhize led the marches.

Fredericks said that the best way the youth of today could show appreciation of the sacrifices of the youth of yesteryear is by taking the opportunities given today.

“The youth of 76 fought for the right to adequate education as well as the right to be taught in a language they understood. Today, young people can go and study where they want to, they get free basic education as well as financial support at tertiary level.

There are also business opportunities available to young people as well as support for them to start their own businesses,” she told the audience, which included her department’s youth brigade.

“When we were young, we fought for these things and it’s disappointing to see that young people are not running with these opportunities.

You are the people that should take the baton now and run with it, not only to address injustices but to be successful,” she told the crowd.

The day had began at Langa High where the fallen were remembered, followed by the ceremony at the hall which saw the human settlement department’s youth brigade graduation ceremony.

The graduates were part of the departments youth empowerment programme which saw more than 300 learners from the province skilled in bricklaying, plastering, plumbing carpentry and tiling.

They were recruited last year and have completed the programme with an accredited certificate.

One of the graduates, Athini Mabentsela, 21, from Langa said: “I’m very happy to have graduated in the programme and I’m grateful that through this programme I have managed to enrol at a college,”.

He said that he had learnt a lot from the programme and it was a second chance from him after dropping out of high school in grade 11.

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