Youth Day

Youth Day which is an official public holiday in South Africa is a day of remembrance which The Times Newspaper called the worst outbreak of racial violence seen in South Africa since the Sharpeville massacre which took place 16 years prior to the Soweto Uprising of 1976. The protest was against the teaching of Afrikaans as a compulsory subject in the schools.

The instillation of Afrikaans as one of the languages to be taught in schools did not sit well with the black South Africans and preferred English as a compulsory subject at any odds. The decree in 1974 was intended to forcibly remove the fact that black South Africans refused Afrikaans in the education system. A quote from the Deputy Minister of Bantu education at the time to outline the ideology at the time is: “A Black man may be trained to work on a farm or in a factory. He may work for an employer who is either English-speaking or Afrikaans-speaking and the man who has to give him instructions may be either English-speaking or Afrikaans-speaking. Why should we now start quarrelling about the medium of instruction among the Black people as well? … No, I have not consulted them and I am not going to consult them. I have consulted the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa …”

The Soweto uprising which saw over 20 000 students protesting against Afrikaans in the schools, which became violent and the estimated deaths are numbered at 176, but have also been recorded to range around 700.