What started as a peaceful protest, ended up as a tragedy. The aftermath of the Soweto uprising sent shockwaves both nationally and internationally, and although tragic, it served as one the pivotal moments in South Africa’s rise to democracy.
Youth Day as it is better known is a lot more than just a public holiday; it’s a day to commemorate and honour the students who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice for equality in the education system as well as the role of youth in the liberation of South Africa.
At Webafrica we stand in solidarity and honour those who fought and helped pave the path for liberation, so that we have the freedom of choice, speech, and education, in a truly diverse and democratic country.
We asked some our Webafricans what Youth Days means to them and here is what they had to say:
Being born in 1990, I was fortunate in that I didn’t experience the horrors of apartheid first-hand. When I first learnt about the Soweto uprising in primary school, the story touched me as I felt a connection toward Hector Pieterson: he was also a defenceless school child just like I was… but he was killed for standing up for what he believed in.
For me, Youth Day symbolises two things: children’s education and teaching in a medium that best promotes their understanding; and it serves as a stark reminder of the difficulties non-white children suffered through during the apartheid regime.
Because of the struggles of those who gave and risked their lives, I am free. Free to choose my education, free to choose which language I want to be taught in and free to live alongside a diverse group of people.
Youth Day is about freedom, democracy, justice and pride. It has also given me the freedom to pursue anything that I wish.
The students who rallied bravely gave me an opportunity to be who I chose to be, to express myself as I wish and allow me the opportunity to know that nothing can stop me from reaching my true potential as a South African woman. Their sacrifice taught me independence from masses and to follow my own path as I see fit. They make me extremely proud to be a South African and I salute them for their cause.
It is a time of reflection and commemorates those who fought not only for their rights but for our freedom and privileges. Youth Day is a day to recognise and guide the next generation, while also looking back to see our progress as a nation.
The youth of SA should be celebrated and nurtured as they are our future. Youth Day is a celebration of our future. It is our job to nurture them, to teach them about our past, so they can learn from our mistakes and work for solutions.
What does Youth Day mean to you?