South Africans commemorate Youth Day on Wednesday, 16 June.  This day remembers the Soweto youth uprising of June 16, 1976 – following a directive from the then Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools.

Pupils from Black schools across the country responded to it with a series of demonstrations. The protests soon turned violent. Unofficial figures put the death toll of the protest at 176, while the government said 23 pupils lost their lives that day.

That generation of young people is lauded for its leadership and bravery in confronting the apartheid regime.

While the current crop of young people has also spearheaded campaigns such as the #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall movements, which some student leaders said was aimed at dismantling the anti-Black system that maintains Black oppression, there have been concerns about a perceived leadership vacuum in the youth space.

In this special Youth Day podcast, SABC News Producer, Lebo Tshangela, speaks to Political Analyst TK Pooe, Youth Lab’s Managing Director Pearl Pillay, and Fees Must Fall student leader Mcebo Dlamini about the leadership vacuum… Below is the full podcast: