16 June 2006

Youth Day

Today thirty years ago the air must have been filled with excitement in Soweto, the most famous township in Johannesburg, South Africa. 16th of June 1976 young students of local schools started a march against the Afrikaans language being used in education. Not only was the language, the one of oppressor but it was also not commonly spoken by the students, so learning was very difficult. South African apartheid police had different view on this, as on many other things as well, and they wanted to stop the children getting into the Orlando Stadium where a rally was supposed to be held. The day took an ugly turn when police started shooting at kids and this started a long period of even stronger resistance and unrest spreading all over South Africa.

Thirty years on, there is a democratic equality in the country. The most oppressive legislation in the history of at least modern world has been officially buried over a decade ago but the country is still striving towards the social and economical equality.

I have great respect for all the freedom fighters, young and old, and I take my hat off in front of the people who did what I doubt that I could do. I am a lucky man because I never had to.

Happy Youth Day, 16th of June 2006 and remember not to forget so that it will never happen again.

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