President Jacob Zuma will on Thursday, 16 June 2016, deliver the national message during the commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the June 16, 1976 uprising in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Youth Day recognizes and celebrates the role of South African youth in the liberation struggle, while also commemorating the pain and the sacrifices that young people made so that we can all be free from the yoke of racist oppression.
The anniversary of the historic uprising will be commemorated under the theme “Youth Moving South Africa Forward”.
“Youth Day remains one of the important occasions in the South African calendar as the country reflects on the conscious sacrifices and resilience of our young people who displayed incredible courage and determination to liberate themselves and the country from the callous apartheid regime. This is a day that was to significantly change the socio-political landscape of the country and the course of the South African history as it widely drew the attention of the international community and paved the way to democracy,” said President Zuma ahead of the historic commemoration.
The whole month of June 1976 also marked a decisive turning point in the history of the struggle for the liberation of Southern Africa as droves of young people swelled the ranks of the Liberation Movements in exile and in the armed struggle to free their countries from colonisation and apartheid including Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.
President Zuma further said this year’s commemoration is important as it marks the 40th Anniversary of the remarkable day and also coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of the country’s internationally acclaimed Constitution, the supreme law of the land, which was signed into law in May 1996.
“As South Africa, today enjoys the fruits of our democracy, we call on our youth from all races to emulate the bravery, resilience and discipline displayed by the fearless youth of 1976 and work together to move South Africa forward and ensure that it becomes a true non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous democratic country,” the President appealed.
Government has put the plights of young people in the centre of its policies and programmes to ensure that it swiftly addresses the challenges faced by the youth.
“In particular,” said the President, “we remain committed to the struggle for total economic emancipation of South African youth and through the Presidential Youth Working Group, among other things, we are working closely with all youth formations to coordinate and champion interventions to promote youth development across government and other sectors.”
President Zuma also called on young people to use education and opportunities afforded to them to change their lives and their communities. He appealed to young people to be responsible, disciplined and patriotic citizens and desist from any actions or behaviour that could destroy their future, particularly drugs, crime and acts of violence.
Government and its agencies including the National Youth Development Agency will host various events across the country during the month of June to promote youth development and engage young people on issues affecting them.
The national commemoration will take place as follows:
Date : Thursday, 16 June 2016
Time : 09:00
Venue : Orlando Stadium, Soweto, Johannesburg
Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture on behalf of the Presidency