When you were taking a long leisurely sleep on Youth Day, did you take the time to remember those who will never wake?
“I was out,” said Jeffrey Roro who claims to be a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). By “out” he actually means he was drunk. While his celebratory methods might be as extreme as his political party, others took a more passive approach to commemorating Youth Day.
Plans of sleeping in and spending more time with their family seemed to be on the cards for most who had the day off.
After all, isn’t that what public holidays are there for?
A hand full of people we interviewed took the time out to remember the real reason why we celebrate Youth Day.
“He died?” is the uncertain answer we received from Quinice Dunn, a 29-year-old mother of two after being asked who Hector Pieterson was.
Once she is more assured she continues to tell us about her mother who would tell her about her experiences, which had a close similarity to the Soweto Uprising. Today, Dunn continues to keep the memories alive by passing these stories down to her children and making them aware of our dark history.
“My mother was a part of it. The stories she told us was quite scary. What I am doing now is paving the way for my daughters and trying to translate these stories so that a nine-year-old and five-year-old can understand,” Dunn explained.
What seems like just a day off from work actually has a much deeper meaning. So often we forget about the 69 brave youth that sacrificed their lives for a better education system. In effect, they did it for individuals like you and me. They fought for our right to be educated in the language of our choice.
One of the more famous individuals to do this was Hector Pieterson. His photograph, taken by Sam Nzima brings chills to anyone who sees it. A black and white photograph which embodies the meaning of our Youth Day celebration in our rainbow nation.
By: Chilton Mellem, Tess Minnaar, Gerard Theron, Sheilan Clarke, Cherri-Lee Rhode