Celebrating Youth Day 2018
Today is Youth Day- a very special day for young and old South Africans alike. But why is it called Youth Day and what do we celebrate?
The history of Youth Day
I think it’s important to understand the history behind Youth Day if we want to celebrate it well. It is usually seen as a fun day off (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but there is also an important historical event behind this day that we need to remember.
On the 16thof June 1976, thousands of black students protested in Soweto- walking from their schools to Orlando Stadium. They were protesting compulsory Afrikaans being taught in township schools- a decision made by the apartheid regime at the time.
The protest was supposed to be peaceful, however, riots broke out when police were called in. Over 500 students who took part in the protest were killed that day. You may know the names of Hastings Ndlovu and 12-year-old Hector Pieterson- these were two of the students who were killed.
This day remembers the students who stood up to oppression in 1976 and in the years leading up to 1994- they played an important role in fighting and overcoming the injustice and discrimination of the apartheid system.
How to celebrate Youth Day
The way you celebrate this day is completely up to you, but if you’re not sure how to then here are some ideas.
The first way you can celebrate is by using your voice to make a noise on issues that matter to you. Continue the legacy of being vocal despite your age by using platforms like social media. You can organise your friends and community around addressing a certain problem, or simply inspire by speaking about an issue/issues you think are important.
Another way to make your voice heard is to visit my Make a Noise page. Here, you can submit your thoughts on any issue you think should be spoken about for people to see when they visit the Choma website.
The second way you can celebrate is to speak about the importance of this day and what it means to you. Share your thoughts with your family and friends, and if you have family members who were alive during this time, listen to the stories that they share.
Happy Youth Day, Choma. Today is your day to celebrate the freedoms you have as a young person in South Africa, and hopefully use these freedoms to help others too, by speaking up about issues. Our country has come very far, and now it’s up to young people to continue South Africa’s spirit of unity, equality and the freedom to stand up for what’s right.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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