South Africa’s #YouthDay2021: The Issues, Significance, And Theme

Youth Day is a public holiday in South Africa which commemorates a protest which resulted in a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976.

Thus, June 16 is a day set aside to honor the courage and sacrifice of the Soweto Uprising youth and celebrate all young people. On this day, the country reflects on the massacre of school children whose rebellion spread to other schools in Soweto on June 16.

South Africa marks the 45th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising today with the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society”, and young people will take to the streets in various parts of the country to voice their demands around burning issues. Meanwhile, civil society will reflect on its role in building legitimacy in African states and how to stand in solidarity with Palestine. Here is how young people in 2021 will spend the day:

Gauteng youngsters are meeting in the Makause informal settlement in Ekurhuleni at 9am to unite against xenophobia. This is a response to a xenophobic gathering the same day and time in Soweto.

There will be a “walk of resistance” in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap to: 

Stop the Amazon development;

Stop gentrification;

Save heritage sites;

Demand a Khoi and San TRC; and

The fall of “all colonial statues”.

The walk will begin at the Bo-Kaap Museum at 11am.

Youth Capital will take the Youth Day discussion online. It has invited activists to discuss how young people can use social and digital media to amplify their voices. They will also answer questions about how to ensure digital activism creates tangible results.

All tours will be free on 16 June at Constitution Hill.

Iziko Museums of South Africa is offering free entry to the South African Museum, South African National Art Gallery, Bo-Kaap Museum, Slave Lodge Museum, and the Maritime Centre.


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