Youth Day celebrations rock Orlando

2011-06-16 11:59

Thousands of energetic young people spilled into Orlando Stadium in Soweto this morning, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the June 16 1976 Soweto uprising.

Drums were played in the background as the stadium filled up with colourfully-dressed youth, some who opted to be in school uniform.

Many sang and danced as they walked to the stadium entrance after being ferried, free of charge, by buses.

Revving their engines and billowing smoke, a group of bikers with ANC flags converged outside the stadium, waiting to welcome President Jacob Zuma, who was expected to give a keynote address.

Entertainment by various artists kept spectators glued to their seats as they cheered each act.

One song even got a group of grannies off their chairs, and moving to the beat.

A group of Ivory Park Secondary School matric pupils shared their feelings on the auspicious day.

“It means tons to me... those people fought for us in 1976, and now we can go to school,” Thokozani Mthembu said.

“This day is for those people who died for us.”

Elvis Pharu, a pupil, said his parents still considered June 16 to be a day of mourning and not celebration.

“My parents say on this day, in 1976, it was horrible and emotional because everything was planned properly, with no violence... And in the morning, they thought the day would end peacefully.

“But it ended with police shooting and the bloodshed of innocent children.

“To my parents this is a day of mourning, but for us it’s a day to celebrate our opportunities.”

Pharu added that the freedom he enjoyed today made him happy, also because it afforded him the opportunity to date outside of his race.

His classmate, Simon Voyiya, agreed.

“I’m proud to be in a country were there’s no such thing as race.

I would date a white girl, Indian girl, coloured girl, as long as they are not married,” Voyiya laughed.

Asked if his parents would be happy with that, he replied: “It’s a free nation.

My parents can’t do anything because it’s my choice. I’m sure they have heard of ubuntu.”

Mlungisi Ndaba said parents needed to educate their children on the importance of June 16.

“I think parents need to talk to children and talk about today, so that they know how important this day is, and won’t use drugs and alcohol,” Ndaba said.

“Education first. Beers later.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Mobile Developer

Cape Town
Goldman Tech Resourcing
R360 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Sales Representative

Cape Town
Pax Staffing Dynamix (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Nursing Manager: Theatre Complex

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R540 000 - R720 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.