16 Minutes for Youth Day – 16 June 2014

2014-06-09 20:31

June 16.

The day known as the Soweto Uprising where a series of high school’s student-led protests in South Africa that began on the morning of June 16, 1976. They were protesting in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as a medium in local schools. The 16th of June is a public holiday known as Youth Day in remembrance of the events of 1976.

Black school students in Soweto protested against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974 which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50-50 mix as languages of instruction. This decree was used to reverse the decline of Afrikaans among black Africans. This very decree was resented by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who believed in was “the language of the oppressors”. I mean away from his description of the Afrikaans language, I could see a major issue. It would have taken up most of the student’s time to first learn the language before learning the subject matter of the various outcomes. So indirectly that was an avenue the apartheid government took to ensure that the black South Africans remain oppressed. I mean this made critical analysis of the content difficult and discouraged critical thinking.

Hector Pieterson, aged 13 was one of the first students to get shot dead, he was shot at the Orlando West High School and became the symbol of the Soweto uprising. 2014 marks the 38th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising. We should take Youth Day as the day to celebrate the lives of the many young courageous students who fought for a better South Africa.  These young leaders believed that enough is enough and they made the biggest difference for not just South Africa but Africa.

I think what really made me so proud to be a part of this country was to know that even through all of this, young people, be it black or white or even coloured stood up and fought. 300 white students from my university, the University of the Witwatersrand, marched through Johannesburg city centre in protest against killing of children. That showed me that even back then the younger white generations didn’t really want this gross injustice. We have come a long way since then; I can easily say that today we are more united than ever, we have deepened non racism instead of racism. We can truly start seeing sneak peeks of the perfect rainbow nation that Nelson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke about.

I want to take this a step further by introducing the 16 minutes for the 16th of June initiative. Where we spend 16 minutes doing something of goodwill for a person that is deemed as a youth of this country. Take a street child for a quick meal, donate your clothes to a child begging on the side of the road, teach underprivileged children their rights in 16 minutes, do a 16 minute food drive through a poverty stricken township, do a 16 minute play with young people…do whatever you can to uplift and develop the lives of young people in South Africa. Now imagine if just say 5 Million out of the Millions of people that live in South Africa participate in this initiative. 80 Million minutes spent on improving your country and its young people just within 24 hours.

I urge Yusuf Abramjee and Lead SA to please assist me with this initiative; your involvement will definitely lead to millions of South Africans making their 16 minute contributions to improve the lives of our young people.

On the 16th of June, please use the hashtag #16on16 on Twitter and Instagram and sent us your comments, pictures and videos of you making a difference with your 16 minutes.

Thank you for your future contributions and support.

Follow me on social media:

Twitter: @ZareefSMB

Facebook: Zareef Minty

Facebook Page: Zareef Minty

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Website: www.zareefminty.com

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