South Africa commemorates Youth Day on Tuesday, initially known as Soweto Uprising Day. It symbolises the student uprisings that led to the deaths of many people mostly students.
Below are some key events that led to the uprising:
- The Apartheid government introduced the Bantu Education Act in 1953
- Afrikaans was made compulsory alongside English as medium of instruction in schools in 1974 – prompting black students mobilising
- The phasing out of Standard 8 in 1975 by the Apartheid government
- The policy is unpopular since Afrikaans was regarded by some as the language of the oppressor
- Students from the Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike and boycotted classes in April 30 1976
- In 1976 June 16 students marched. A tense moment for both the police and the students.
- A student Teboho Tsietsi Mashinini led the march from Morris Isaacson High School chanting “Down with Afrikaans”, “Viva Azania”
- The police then began to shoot directly at the children.
- First students to be shot dead were 15-year-old Hastings Ndlovu and 13-year-old Hector Pieterson
- Official figures say 23 people had been killed but some reports estimate at least 200 – Edited by Busisiwe Radebe
*Source South African History Online
In the video below ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the youth