The Significance of 16 June 1976 was a major turning point in South African history. The protests by Soweto school children on that day marked the end of submissiveness on the part of the black population of South Africa and the beginning of a new militancy in the struggle against apartheid.
From June 16, 1976, onwards, South Africa’s youth took centre stage. June 16 is a day in which South Africans honour the brave youths that were killed. There are Youth Day celebrations which are held all around South Africa, empowering individuals of all ethnicities in South Africa and to remember those who lost their lives. Sthabile Gwala asked DUT students and staff members about the significance of June 16 and what it means to them?
Zandile Mhlongo, PR intern at the Department of Student Governance and Development
“June 16 is about paying tribute to students who lost their lives fighting against policies of the Apartheid government that suggested that Afrikaans should be compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools. So we celebrate June 16 to say thank you to the youth of 1976 for sacrificing their lives for our freedom.”
Agenderi Naidoo, Admin and PA and the Department of Student Governance and Development“ June 16 is of value to me because I was born in the year 1976. June 16 is about remembering and showing appreciation to the children who lost their lives during the struggle. We are where we are today because of them. I wish the youth of today will continue to carry on where they left off and to show the youth of 1976 that their lives were not lost for nothing.”
Zithulele Ndlela, Deputy Chairperson of the DUT ANCYL “Every time we celebrate June 16 or any historic event it should revive our spiritual consciousness and help us to remember that the struggle continues but most importantly remind us of our main objectives and duty.”
Paloma De Barbarin, Third Year Fine Arts“The youth of 1976 were very courageous and bold and I think we should follow in their footsteps and be an example to the next generation. I think it’s amazing that we celebrate their lives every year but we shouldn’t think of June 16 as just a holiday away from school, we should see it as a time to reflect and unite.”
Suhaydah Ismail, (Extended Programme) Graphic Design“People need to understand that June 16 is not just for black people it’s for all races who live in South Africa because everyone suffered under the Apartheid government. I commend the youth of 1976 for their bravery because we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them.”
Londeka Makhaye, First Year Catering Management
“I really appreciate what the youth of 1976 did for us, we are where we are today because of them. We have more opportunities, bursaries, benefits because they stood up for our rights. All the benefits we enjoy today are because they lost their lives for our future. Even though we still have a long way to go we’ve come a long way.”
Copy also from https://www.apartheidmuseum.org/significance-1976
Pic Credit: Google Images