Youth Day commemorates the black students who fought for the removal of the Bantu Education Act in the Apartheid regime demonstrated during the Soweto riots of 1976.
On June 16 thousands of young black South Africans marched from their respective schools to Orlando Stadium against the schooling system which deliberately favoured the Afrikaans white minority. A protest which was meant to be peaceful turned violent as police officers opened fire, killing hundreds of pupils who died so that equal education would be realised beyond the barriers of race or nationality.
This year National Youth Day falls on a Monday. For some it might just mean another public holiday and opportunity to sneak in a long weekend, but we at Shift4Ward believe that it’s important to properly honour the lives that were lost for the democratic rights that all South Africans have enjoyed now for 20 years. Why not consider taking part in the plethora of activities happening all over South Africa from music concerts and parties, through to more educational trips to the museum or other thought-provoking excursions?
There is bound to be something for you! Here are just a few events to whet your appetite:
If you happen to find yourself in Cape Town this weekend, the Artscape Theatre will play host to the Sekunjalo Edujazz Concert on Saturday 14 June. The purpose of the evening is to feature some of the Mother City’s up-and-coming jazz musicians from schools and youth programmes who, for most of the bands performing, will be showcasing themselves for the first time on such a prestigious stage. This year’s special guest is 21-year old sensation, Jimmy Nevis- you don’t want to miss seeing this exciting young talent! The concert starts at 7:30PM and tickets cost R80 per person and are available at Computicket. If you’re still not sure about attending, all ticket sales will be going towards funding bursaries and jazz workshops for children in some of the Western Cape’s poorest communities. This certainly sounds like an initiative worth supporting, so what’s stopping you? Book your seat today.
On 16 June in Cape Town there will be something maybe a little a bit different to what you’re accustomed to doing on a Monday morning, known as the Freedom Ride. The 27KM bicycle race celebrates the life of South African icon and father of democracy, Nelson Mandela, with one kilometer for every year Madiba spent in prison on Robben Island. The ride will start at the Kenilworth Racecourse and take all green go-getters along a route steeped in history, ending at the Grand Parade in Town. Be sure to get in on the vibe, riders leave at 8AM, and guess what? It’s free. For more information head over to Facebook.com/FreedomRideCapeTown. If you’re wondering about what’s going on in Johannesburg, Freedom Ride Jozi has been scheduled for Sunday 20 July 2014. Stay in the loop about more of the details on their Facebook.com/FreedomRideJozi
Why not perhaps refresh your memory about that fateful day of 16 June 1976 by considering a trip to one of the Apartheid memorial museums in South Africa? In Johannesburg you can visit the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum, situated at 8288 Maseko Street in Orlando West, Soweto, not far from the original location of where young 13-year old Hector Pieterson was shot dead. Go and visit the District Six Museum in Cape Town, which provides a window into life during the Apartheid era. Even though not expressly about the issue of youth and education, there is no harm brushing up on this country’s dark history before the dawn of democracy. Go and check it out at 25 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.
Music concerts and parties come part and parcel for Youth Day every year, signifying vibrancy, hope and equality celebrated in a free and fair South Africa. In addition to this, it is crucial for young people (and older folk for that matter) to be informed and stimulated about the great sacrifices that were made, realising how much this pertains to the equal education that we all currently benefit from. This is something that we should never take for granted.
Make sure you make the most of your Youth Day by learning something new about our country’s heritage, while hanging loose and having fun.