Remembering the courageous acts of the 1976 youth
This day is more than a public holiday, it commemorates the courage displayed by students who stood against the apartheid government. Youth Day is a day South Africans pay tribute to the youth that was ambushed by the apartheid regime police in Soweto on 16 June 1976.
Going back in time…
On June 16, 1976, thousands of black students gathered to protest from their schools to Orlando Stadium. The students opposed the official order of making Afrikaans compulsory in black township schools throughout the country. The use of local languages was prohibited in these schools whilst the constitution supported that Afrikaans and English be made the official languages of the country.
The rally was peaceful with the intention to plea with the government not to make Afrikaans compulsory in schools. Things escalated when the police were called in to disperse the crowds and riots broke out. Hundreds of students were killed as a result.
Some interesting facts
- The day is more commonly referred to as the ‘Soweto Uprising’
- The association of Afrikaans with apartheid prompted black South Africans to prefer English
- This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the Soweto Uprising
- The number of people who died is usually given as 176 with some estimates up to 700
- 15 000 uniformed pupils were there. The plan was to act against studying in Afrikaans. They moved to Orlando Stadium.
Business Essentials: Press Room
After its world premiere at the prestigious FESPACO in 2017 & North America premiere at New York’s African Film Festival , Uprize! made its South African debut at 4 sold out screenings of 2017 edition of the Encounters Documentary Film Festival.
The documentary film looked at the world that made the youth of the Soweto uprisings in June 1976 that we now celebrate, and what gave them the courage & necessary impetus to stand up against the might of the brutal apartheid state.
The documentary features commentaries from student leaders, Seth Mazibuko, Sibongile Mkhabela and artists, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Duma ka Ndlovu, Abigail Kubeka and many others.
Watch the promo here:
By, Lelethu Baba