Retracing the footsteps of the 1976 youth

Friday, June 15, 2018

In commemoration of the 1976 student uprisings, President Cyril Ramaphosa will participate in a Thuma Mina Walk, to retrace the footsteps of the 1976 students, ahead of the Youth Day celebration, in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The walk, which will start from Morris Isaacson High School in Jabavu, Soweto, and end at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Orlando West on Saturday, symbolises the journey undertaken by the youth on 16 June 1976, as they marched against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools.

“Our youth were at the forefront of the fight against apartheid. The Class of 1976 exposed the brutality of the apartheid regime to the world and ignited resistance around the country.

"Forty-two years later, young people must help to keep their legacy alive by taking advantage of opportunities to build our country and change their lives," said President Ramaphosa.

Every year on 16 June, South Africa commemorates the uprisings to pay tribute to hundreds of youth who were brutally killed by the apartheid government.

In honour of the students of 1976, President Ramaphosa, who will address the 42nd anniversary of the Youth Day Commemoration, called on the country to use the day and the month to tackle challenges faced by young people.

“Young people should join the ranks of active and responsible citizens by participating in democratic structures and processes like elections as well as be active leaders in the fight against crime, substance abuse, corruption and acts of violence,” said the President.

This year’s commemoration takes place under the theme ‘Live the Legacy: towards a socio-economically empowered youth’.

In remaining true to the theme, President Ramaphosa said more needs to be done and called for the unlocking of opportunities for the youth.

YES to jobs

Youth Month comes less than three months since the President launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative that aims to prepare young people for work through training and matching programmes.

The programme is a business-led initiative in partnership with government, labour and civil society and will offer one million young South Africans paid work experience over the next three years.

Youth Month 2018 coincides with the centenary year of the country’s liberation struggle champions, former President Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

President Ramaphosa called on the youth and all South Africans to use the month to honour the sacrifices made by Tata Madiba and Mama Sisulu towards a free, democratic, non-sexist and non-racial South Africa.

To conclude the Thuma Mina Walk, the President will lay a wreath at the memorial site of the first victim of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, Hector Pieterson.

President Ramaphosa will then proceed to Orlando Stadium to deliver a national message on Youth Day 2018 commemoration.

Throughout the month, government and its agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency will host a number of engagements including youth expos, dialogues and youth entrepreneur hubs to showcase opportunities available to young people. –