Monday, June 16, 2008

Soweto heroes remembered

By Ilhaam Hoosain
16 June 2008

32 years ago high-school students in Soweto started their protests for better education on 16 June 1976.

Youth day, a national holiday marks the loss of hundreds of lives in the struggle against Apartheid and Bantu Education and is a commemoration to all the youth that lost their lives in the struggle.

According to reports the issue that was being protested, was not so much the Afrikaans but the whole system of Bantu education, which was characterised by separate schools and universities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers and poor facilities.

On this day 32 years ago approximately 20 000 pupils from Soweto began a protest march. In the struggle almost 700 hundred people, many of them youths, were killed and property destroyed.

President Thabo Mbeki gave a key note speech at the University of the Western Cape on Monday in which he said that the youth of 2008, should carry the title “young lions”, which Oliver Tambo in 1976, called the youth of then.

He stated that the youth should be at the forefront of the struggle to defeat violence and rape against women and children.

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