16 JUNE SOUTH AFRICA YOUTH DAY
PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOOD AND RESILIENCE OF YOUNG PEOPLE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
Youth Day message from South Africa’s Ambassador in Ankara H.E Letsatsi-Duba
South Africa commemorates Youth Day on June 16 annually, this is in remembrance of the 1976 Soweto youth, who stood up against the apartheid government and laid down their lives fighting for freedom and the right to equal education.
2022 marks the 46th Anniversary since the 1976 Student uprising which is annually commemorated as Youth Day in South Africa. This year’s Youth Month will be commemorated under the theme “Promoting Sustainable Livelihood and Resilience of Young People for a Better Tomorrow”
Beyond commemorating those who stood up against the apartheid government but also serves as a reminder of the power of the youth as a catalyst for change.
The South African Embassy in Turkey commemorates this day like many South Africans in acknowledging the youth of 1976 who mobilized to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools.
On June 16 1976, the youth of South Africa led the fight against apartheid and discrimination, for equality and the right to fair education, and paid the ultimate price. For these heroes and heroines, it was never about self-fulfilment, or about reaping personal rewards. It was about a commitment to the spirit of sacrifice, strength, faith and determination to change the oppressive system for the improvement of the social, political and economic landscape of the nation, and for a democratic South Africa.
We should continue to honour the lives and roles played by those whose time on earth was sacrificed 46 years ago for the youth of today to enjoy better opportunities. This day is to acknowledge the likes of Tsietsi Mashinini, Hector Peterson, Solomon Mahlangu and many more.
South Africa has come a long way since 1976, we have abolished the apartheid education systems, we are improving conditions in TVET colleges, universities and training colleges, and imparting skills to our youth. This we are doing because we know that without education, our efforts to achieve our goals will not be sustained.
To the South African students in Turkey, we are proud of your bravery to leave your comfort zone in a quest for knowledge. Your successful receipt of scholarships, including parental support to study in Turkey, is an achievement which many of your fellow South African youth still dream of. Your ability to study abroad makes you a beacon of hope to many in South Africa. Please be cognisant that while you are undertaking your academic commitments, you are representing South Africa. You are urged to fly the flag high.
While we may not have the opportunity of addressing you directly as we may have wished, please be advised and know that our thoughts and wishes are always with you. As the South African Embassy here in Turkey, we are dedicated to supporting you were possible and reassure you that your voices heard and are powerful.
In line with this year’s theme “Promoting Sustainable Livelihood and Resilience of Young People for a Better Tomorrow”, we call on all young people to take charge opportunity fought for by our brothers and sisters in 1976, and become active members of change.
As we commemorate Youth Day let us remember what lies ahead, and be reminded that more needs to be done. Let us remember the efforts of the 1976 generation, and ensure that their struggle was not in vain.