Gauteng celebrates Youth Day in Soweto

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The Gauteng provincial government will host a series of events to remember the youth of 1976 on Youth Day, June 16.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura alongside the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Geoff Makhubo and MEC for Sport, Art, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlophe, will on Wednesday 16 June 2021, lead the Gauteng City Region programme to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the youth uprisings as the country marks Youth Day.

It was here in Gauteng, Soweto where hundreds of learners from various schools across the township took to the streets to protest against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools by the then apartheid government.

Wreath laying ceremony

Invited stakeholders including Each One Teach One and the June 16 Foundation, will join Premier Makhura during the commemoration, starting with the wreath laying ceremony at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Orlando West.

The Memorial site is the place where learners were met with gunfire from police during their march to Orlando Stadium. This led to the death of young Hector Pieterson among others.

Bus tour across sites

Instead of a march (along the route taken by learners in 1976), a bus tour has been organised from Naledi High School through several heritage sites until Morris Issacson High where the formal and cultural programmes will be held and Premier Makhura will deliver a keynote.

This year National Youth Day and Youth Month is commemorated and celebrated under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society.”

MEC pays tribute to youth

MEC Mbali Hlophe, an executive member responsible for the provincial youth programme has paid tribute to the youth of Gauteng.

Hlophe said young people remain a vital part of the government’s programme and that it is committed to addressing youth unemployment.

“Forty-five years on we remember the courage and resilience of our youth, how they organised themselves and made their voices heard. We also remember those who lost their lives and those who were forced to leave their beloved families and the country.

“The youth of 1976 took it upon themselves to stop the indoctrination of the majority through poor education delivered and received using the language of the oppressive regime.

As Gauteng we believe, like the youth of 1976, today’s youth have a vital role to play in ensuring that we achieve our goals of rebuilding the economy, fighting the spread of COVID-19, transformation of society and more”, said MEC Hlophe.

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