Regional Chairperson of the ANC Youth League Sifiso Mtsweni. Photo: Myron Rabinowitz
GEORGE NEWS - This year's Youth Day marks the 40th anniversary of the uprisings of the Soweto youth on 16 June 1976.
Initially known as Soweto Day among the supporters of the ANC, this day was officially made a public holiday after Nelson Mandela became president in 1994. It was renamed Youth Day by the new government to commemorate the role all youths played in overcoming the previous regime.
Hector Pieterson's name will forever be engraved in the South African memory as a symbol of freedom, after his untimely death 40 years ago during the Soweto uprising. What was originally intended as a peaceful march to the Orlando Stadium became a bloodbath when the Apartheid police started shooting at the protesters.
About 20 000 students protested against the Bantu Education Act, established by the Apartheid Government, which forced black learners to follow a different curriculum to their white counterparts, and to be taught in Afrikaans.
Celebrating Youth Day in Thembalethu
Both the ANC and the DA will host Youth Day celebrations in Thembalethu.
The DA plans a rally at the Thembalethu Stadium today (Thursday 16 June) at 10:00. DA Events Organiser for the election, Mercia Draghoender expects about 1 000 youths and DA supporters at the event. "We want to motivate and energise our youth," said Draghoender.
Regional Chairperson of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), Sifiso Mtsweni will address supporters and members of the ANCYL today at 10:00 at Thembalethu High School.
"We expect about 2 000 people at the rally," said Mtsweni. "The event will commemorate the 40 years since the uprising in June 1976."
Poetry readings and a choir performance form part of the programme. Mtsweni will also talk about the youth's expectation of the local government election in August.
Mtsweni said the DA's rally in Thembalethu is a tactical maneuver by the party. "We are not worried, Thembalethu is still a stronghold of the ANC," he said.