Today is a South African Holiday (or in reality a day of observance). Youth Day commemorates the 1976 Soweto uprising where hundreds of teenagers and children protested a new rule from the apartheid influenced government. This new rule established Afrikaans as the official language of Bantu education, further crippling the diversity of South African culture. Instead of quelling their anger, the youth of Soweto peacefully marched…and some tragically lost their lives.
Youth are classified between the ages of 14-35 in South Africa. Although I have been here for only 6ish months, it is obvious that South African Youth are resilient. There could be a myriad of social issues but from Soweto to my bucolic valley the youth still dream, attend school, and extract the beauty from adversity.
In an era where teenagers and young adults are classified as apathetic, it is humbling to serve in a country where youth care and move their country forward. Their compassion reminds me to use this period of my life wisely.
One of the songs I play to maintain my social justice perspective is “I Remember I Believe”. It reaffirms my belief in humanity, and on this youth day I will listen to it as South Africa reflects on the sacrifices that brought them to this reality.
Remembering the activists and their loved ones in the Soweto Uprising and the numerous protests against apartheid rule.