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Constitution Hill commemorates 40 years since ‘76 Soweto Uprisings

The annual Basha Uhuru Youth Festival kicked off with a launch of an art exhibition last night.

Some of the contemporary artwork displayed as part of a month long exhibition at the Basha Uhuru Youth Festival. Picture:Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - A host of cultural activities has kicked off at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, to commemorate 40 years since the 1976 Soweto Uprisings.

The fourth instalment of the Basha Uhuru Youth Festival, which usually runs over three days, has been extended into the month with an event organised for every week.

What was previously known as 'the notorious Number Four prison' has been re-imagined into a space of creative freedom with a contemporary art exhibition, film, theatre, art, discussions and networking platforms.

The theme this year is 'Expressions of Freedom'.

An art display part of the Basha Uhuru Youth Festival. Picture: Supplied

The heritage site, which functioned as a prison, once under the Group Areas Act during apartheid already hosts gripping exhibitions with themes that showcase South Africa's rich heritage and human rights.

The event, a collaboration between Constitution Hill and contemporary art gallery Kalashnikovv, aims to showcase young emerging artists and cultural practitioners. Picture: Supplied

Speaking on some of the elements brought into the festival, Gaisang Sathekge says there is a vast pool of films and documentaries that will be showed including The People versus the Rainbow Nation - a look into the concept of the rainbow nation as told by young people.

WATCH: 'The People versus The Rainbow Nation'

Sathekge says, "What is very important about the site is that those young people in 1976, who took to the streets against the oppressive laws of apartheid, were incarcerated here at the prison. We are breaking down the prison walls and allowing some form of creativity to penetrate the walls and to reinterpret the painful history we have verged from."

She adds it's a creative platform of reinterpretation, re-engagement, re-imagining our history and our painful identity.

"So it's very important to bring young people back to that oppressive space but we are turning that around and we are using that to heal. We are using the arts to heal in that very same space."

The programme, which culminates in an explosive music concert on 25 June will also feature a time-travel tour which will re-enact the events of 16 June 1976 from Orlando to Number Four prison, with a heritage cycling tour, which will link up the Hector Pieterson Museum and Constitution Hill.

'Market @ The Fort', the heritage site's monthly lifestyle market, will be a fusion of food, fashion, and accessories to complement the Basha Uhuru music concert.

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