Soweto uprising victim calls on youth to uphold anti-apartheid legacy

Enos Ngutshane encourages SA’s youth to remember the country's future is dependent on their contributions.

School children marched through the streets of Soweto ahead of 16 June Youth Day celebration to highlight the importance of education. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The first school pupil arrested in connection with the Soweto uprisings of 1976 on Monday called on young people in South Africa to uphold the legacy of anti-apartheid heroes who fought for equal access to education.

On 16 June 1976 a group of school children from Soweto demonstrated against being taught in Afrikaans and against the oppressive apartheid government.

At least 176 people, including Hector Pieterson, died.

The uprising, which is now remembered as National Youth Day, involved students from numerous schools in the township who had running battles with security forces over the introduction of Bantu education in schools.

Former student leader Enos Ngutshane spoke at a march held by the Gauteng Education Department in commemoration of Youth Day.

Ngutshane encouraged South Africa's youth to remember that the country's future is dependent on their contributions.

He said to him Youth Day was a time to reflect on the sacrifices he and others like Pieterson made.

"It reminds us of the bravery we demonstrated fighting against the regime."

At the same time, the Gauteng Education Department vowed to ensure that the state of education in the province improved to allow pupils their right to quality schooling.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi vowed to ensure that the province's youth no longer had to struggle to access the right to quality education.

The MEC said Monday's event was a revival of the fight for quality education for all South African children.

Lesufi said while South Africans no longer had to worry about apartheid, they now had their own struggles to overcome.

WATCH: Youth Day March.