The grandchildren of Archbishop Desmond and Leah Tutu say that there is no room to straddle the fence in the fight against oppression. The Tutu grandchildren were talking in the United States in honour of Youth Day.

The day is celebrated in South Africa to commemorate the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprisings, where school children led a series of protests and demonstrations against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in school.

In the video below, former journalist and activist Duma ka Ndlovu talks about events leading up to the Soweto uprisings: 

The US also celebrates the day as Juneteenth, which is also known as Freedom Day. On the day in 1965 in the US, it was ordered that all enslaved people in Texas be set free.

In a video message shared across the world, Tutu’s grandchildren lent their collective voices to show continued solidarity and support in the fight against oppression worldwide. They shared the famous words from their grandfather.

“This moment in our history is about truly showing up, mindful of the ideals so many generations like our parents and grandparents paid forward for us. It is a moment to actually embody and reclaim justice, not as something that ought to be handed to us rather, justice is a human right; as a black woman, mother, daughter, sister and humans in the world,” Lungi Morrison said from her home city of Accra, Ghana.

Ramaphosa’s Youth Day message

In his Youth Day message, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the current young generation has the ability to empower and speak out against injustices which is a critical element in the fight against gender-based violence. He says such qualities were seen during the fees must fall protests and against the killing of George Floyd in the US.

“Government is strengthening laws to provide greater protection and support for survivors and increase sentences for perpetrators. We are rolling out more sexual offences courts and providing more training for law enforcement officers. Young people, when you know your friends or relatives are victims, be compassionate and do not judge. Let victims be your guide on how to tackle their situation. Share widely information about professional support available in your community as well as at your educational institutions,” the President said.

He has called on the youth, particularly young men in the country, to take up the struggle against GBV.

In the video below, the President’s Youth Day message: