Mahlodi Muofhe argues that the meaning of 16 June has been lost by the renaming of it to Youth Day. He writes that we haven’t seen much change at learning facilities over the years as a result, despite the battle that was fought for quality education in 1976.
If wishes were horses, I would have ridden one as a then 1976 Sekano-Ntoane High School student in Soweto, and redetermined the 16 June 1976 calendar date name differently.
On that fateful day, together with my fellow cohorts from all secondary and high schools in Soweto, I was at the frontline, marching and carrying placards and protesting against the usage of Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction. Twined to this protest was the demand of the total dismantlement of the apartheid, Afrikaner-led government. The majority of us were in our teens.
The historic day of 16 June 1976 is known legislatively as Youth Day. There is nothing unpleasant about calling it this, but numbness about its name stems from whether we are commemorating it one year or celebrating it; depending on how the dice falls. The deadlock within myself on whether to call 16 June 1976 ‘Youth Day’ catches the real intent of what we fought for and against in 1976.
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