Learners know the history of Youth Day

2018-06-14 06:01
Sikho Lingani (16)PHOTOS: unathi obose

Sikho Lingani (16)PHOTOS: unathi obose

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As the nation commemorates Saturday 16 June, which is nationally known as Youth Day, City Vision took to the streets to gauge how much the youth of to day relate to the events that took place over 40 years ago.

When school kids in Soweto left their classes on that day in 1976, protesting against the imposition of the Afrikaans language as the medium language of instruction in all other subjects, save for English and the vernacular languages, this changed the course of history in South Africa forever.

The tragedy of that day had its own international ramifications for the apartheid government, ultimately resulting in trade sanction that brought the economy on its knees.

However, popular defiance had become the order of the day until democracy was attained in 1994, as a result of a negotiated settlement­.

We visited Vuyiseka High School in Philippi and Mathew Goniwe Memorial High School in Site B in Khayelitsha to talk to the learners to find out what this day means to them.

SIKHO LINGANI, a Grade 10 learner from Vuyiseka, described Youth Day as one that encourages young people to keep away from bad habits.

“June 16 encourages youth to stay away from drugs, alcohol and crime. Its a day that encourages us (youth) to focus on our studies­.”

SIHLE FIPHAZA, in the same grade, said Youth Day is the commemoration of the youth of 1976 who were protesting against using Afrikaans in their schools as the medium of instruction demanding the government to teach them in their languages.

AZOLA DWAYI said Youth Day is about learners who were fighting against oppression by the apartheid regime.

“They were demanding equal education and didn’t want to be taught in Afrikaans,” she said.

AYAKHA TWALA, a Grade 12 learner from Mathew Goniwe Memorial High School said: “Youth Day is the remembrance of students of 1976 in Soweto who were protesting against the Afrikaans language.”

ATHENKOSI LANDULELE, a Grade 10 learner, said Youth Day is a commemoration of the learners of 1976 who were fighting for their rights. “They (learners) wanted to be taught in their own languages. They didn’t want Afrikaans. So, the police shot them and others died.”

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