June 16, 2006

30-year celebrations of Soweto uprising

South Africa should remember the struggle days and salute the courageous actions of the youth of 1976, President Thabo Mbeki told tens of thousands of people at the FNB Stadium near Soweto. “We remember the youth of 1976 because they left us a lesson: That it is possible for young people to stand up and confront the challenges facing them,” Mbeki said after having lead a 5km march through the streets of Soweto on the exact route of the march by Soweto schoolchildren on June 16, 1976. Scores of schoolchildren were shot dead by police that day 30 years ago while protesting against the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in schools. Mbeki urged today’s youth to follow in the footsteps of the young of 1976 by defending the gains of freedom. “They should take the lead in honouring the principles and the intent of our Constitution, because by doing so they will be advancing the struggle for a better South Africa.” However, he acknowledged there were “still some children who go to school hungry and attend school in dilapidated buildings”. “Our biggest challenge, therefore, is to reduce youth unemployment and the consequent poverty that afflicts many of our young people.” Mbeki said the youth should be informed about the development opportunities being created. (Bua News, Tshwane)

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