SA commemorates Youth Day

SA will today commemorate the 38th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising.

The iconic photograph taken of Hector Pieterson, who was killed during the Soweto uprising in 1976, displayed at the Hector Pieterson museum in Soweto. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks National Youth Day.

Almost 40 years to the day, thousands of youths in Soweto took to the streets to vent their anger in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools during the apartheid regime.

The 1976 Soweto Uprising, now remembered as Youth Day, claimed many lives as students from numerous schools in the township had running battles with security forces over the introduction of Bantu education in schools.

South Africans are commemorating the 38th anniversary of the uprising in which 176 people died.

Today is an official holiday in the country, marking the efforts of hundreds of young people, who rose up against Bantu education and repression in South Africa.

The 16 June 1976 uprising began in Soweto, spread countrywide and profoundly changed the socio-political landscape of the country.

The youth are encouraged to honour and not to forget the sacrifices made by those in 1976, who fought for a better education and future.

A number of events to commemorate this day are expected to be held around the country.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will mark the day by attending a rally in Kimberley.

Ramaphosa's spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa says, "This year's national youth celebrations take place within the context of celebrating 20 years since the dawn of peace, freedom, justice and democracy."

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela will also attend the rally.

He says government is working to cut youth unemployment.

"The new department on small businesses together with trade and industry and economic development will collectively work together towards achieving the Youth Employment Code, which we think is government's central policy in ensuring that we resolve the youth unemployment crisis."