Immediate release: 16 June 2020
[PRESS STATEMENT] Youth Day 2020 “Black Youth Lives Matter ”
June 16th is South Africa’s Youth Day in commemoration of the 1976 Soweto Youth uprising. On this day, thousands of students from Soweto protested in defiance to Bantu Education, which institutionalised Afrikaans as a medium language of instruction. The Soweto uprising was a series of demonstrations and protests led by black school children in South Africa that began on the morning of 16 June 1976. Over 10 000 peaceful protesting students were met by heavily armed police who fired live ammunition on protesting students, killing many innocent lives. This uprising gave significant strength to the liberation struggle in exposing the brutality of the apartheid state.
South Africa commemorates Youth Day annually in remembrance of the significance of the Soweto uprising and the bravery of those who fought and lost their lives for equality and justice for all who live in South Africa. This year’s Youth Day is being commemorated in the midst of a global health pandemic, COVID-19, which has fundamentally affected and changed the way we think about our futures. At the same time the global #BlackLivesMatter movement is continuing efforts to dismantle and rise up against historical structural racism which has resulted in police brutality, inequality, xenophobia, racism and disregard for human rights.
In South Africa, COVID-19 has once again revealed the absence of real transformation to ensure the wellness and dignity of all people living in South Africa. The #BlackLivesMatter movement shows yet again the strength, solidarity and importance of young people in re imagining the world they want to live in, similar to the struggles of the 1976 youth in Soweto.
Read Full Statement here