This month in history
A day that began with peaceful protesting but ended in violence, tears, blood and the death of a 13-year-old boy, Hector Peterson.
The Soweto Uprising started when more than 20 000 learners marched against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in black secondary schools on 16 June 1976. The uprising then escalated into a nationwide revolt, revitalising the struggle for liberation in South Africa.
Apart from the language issue, students also demanded an education as good as that provided for white students. Police used teargas to disperse the crowd and students threw stones in retaliation. Police then responded by firing live bullets, killing Hector Peterson.
In South Africa today this day is known as Youth Day which marks not only the sacrifices made by the youth on that day, but also of those children who defied “Bantu Education” and took up arms in the struggle for freedom.
Youth Day is commemorated annually on 16 June.