Today is National Youth Day in South Africa, where the country commemorates the June 16 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread across South Africa profoundly changing the socio-political landscape of the country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the day’s keynote address virtually at 11:30 am.
The events, which triggered that uprising in South Africa, can be traced back to policies of the apartheid government that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953.
The rise of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and the formation of the South African Students Organisation (SASO) raised the political consciousness of many students, with others joining the older guard political parties of the time.
When the apartheid government forced Afrikaans alongside English as a compulsory medium of instruction in schools in 1974, young Black learners began to mobilise.
On 16 June 1976, between 3 000 and 10 000 students mobilised by the South African Students Movement’s Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive.
While some of them lost their lives, others lived to tell the tale and are serving in various sectors of the country’s economy.
As the country reflects on the events of that day and the victory that followed, SABC Digital News highlights three of the many leaders who emerged from the uprising.
Below is a brief summary of them: