It has been 44 years since over 500 youth tragically lost their lives fighting for equal education rights when police, under the apartheid regime, decided to violently ambush their peaceful protest in Soweto on 16 June 1976.
The students were protesting the government’s directive of making Afrikaans and English a compulsory medium of instruction in schools.
Photographer Sam Nzima captured the devastating and iconic image of the mortally injured Hector Pieterson (age 12) being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo while Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette Sithole, ran beside them. The image was published globally, giving the world a glimpse into the brutality of the apartheid regime.
National Youth Day commemorates the sacrifices of the Soweto Uprising and brings attention to the needs and rights of today’s youth.
With the prohibition of large gatherings due to the covid-19 pandemic, South Africa will, for the first time in 25 years, celebrate this year’s Youth Month and commemorate Youth Day, virtually.
On Tuesday 16 June 2020, several civil society groups will host free webinars to ensure that this year’s Youth Day does not go unnoticed.