NATIONAL NEWS - June 16 is celebrated annually in South Africa as Youth Day.
Youth Day commemorates The Soweto Uprising - a series of high school student-led protests in Soweto that began on the morning of June 16, 1976.
Students from numerous Sowetan schools protested in the streets of Soweto in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools.
On the morning of 16 June 1976, between 10,000 and 20,000 black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium for a rally to protest against having to learn through Afrikaans in school.
Many students who later participated in the protest arrived at school that morning without prior knowledge of the protest, yet agreed to become involved.
The protest was planned by the Soweto Students' Representative Council's (SSRC) Action Committee, with support from the wider Black Consciousness Movement. Teachers in Soweto also supported the march after the Action Committee emphasised good discipline and peaceful action.
One of the first students to be shot dead by police was 13-year-old Hector Pieterson. He was shot at Orlando West High School and became the symbol of the Soweto uprising.
Youth Day is celebrated in order to recognise the role of youth in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime.
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