South Africa Youth Day

South Africa Youth Day

June 16
Throughout the history of South Africa, black citizens have suffered from segregation and oppression by the white leaders. In 1953, the South African government passed the Bantu Education Act, which included provisions for the establishment of a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs to develop a curriculum that addressed the "nature and requirements of the black people." The aim of this curriculum was to provide black South Africans with an education that would give them only the skills necessary to serve their own people or to work in labor-intensive jobs under whites. Blacks were not to receive an education that would lead them to seek positions they would not be allowed to hold in society. The Bantu Education Act also declared that Afrikaans, a Dutch dialect, was to be used on an equal basis with English in secondary schools.
By 1975, black students began to fight against their lower-class status. They started to protest not only the fact that Afrikaans was a mandatory part of their education, but also the segregated schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms, and poorly trained teachers.
On June 16, 1976, more than 20,000 students from Soweto began a protest march. Police were called to the scene, and violent riots broke out. These riots lasted eight months, during which time approximately 700 people, many of them youths, were killed.
June 16 has been set aside as Youth Day (previously known as Soweto Day), a public holiday across the Republic of South Africa, to commemorate the day the protests began and to honor the youth who lost their lives during the riots. Ceremonies, parades, and historic exhibitions are part of the celebrations across South Africa.
CONTACTS:
South Africa Government
Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa
www.info.gov.za
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