June 16 – Fresh in mind.
The uprising began on the day in Soweto, and eventually spread around the country. Apartheid police fired tear gas and later live ammunition at students demonstrating against Bantu Education, killing and injuring many.
Seth Mazibuko says he still regrets taking pupils out of their classrooms on June 16, 1976, only for them to be killed.
Those events, that changed the social and political landscape of the nation, are still fresh in the mind of Seth Mazibuko. Sharing his story at the intergenerational dialogue in commemoration of Youth Month at Freedom Park in Tshwane last Friday, June 16 Youth Development Foundation’s Mazibuko said he was still emotional about the day. He spent seven years on Robben Island when he was 16.
“I am here to make a spiritual connection with those who laid down their lives for us to be where we are today,” he said, adding that he still lived in Soweto. “This is where Hector Pieterson left me. How do I apologise to families for taking their kids out of the classrooms and leading them to be killed?”
Mazibuko said many young people were not enjoying the fruit of the tree of liberation they watered with their blood. He urged them to get out of clubs and get into classrooms. Freedom Park CEO Jane Mufamadi said they had a mandate to honour those who sacrificed for freedom and humanity.
“We have over 500 names of those who died on that day. “We have to take the country forward so the blood that was spilled was not in vain.” Diko Sinothando (15) from Dumezweni Senior Secondary, Eastern Cape, said: “This is a happy moment to be one of the kids who are learning what others did for us.”
Lebo Dotyeni (22) from Ntsikayezwe Senior Secondary said: “The children of 1976 should be celebrated forever because they shaped the direction of education.” Kwanele Tshitshi, a teacher from Mcwathi Senior Secondary, said: “It was great to learn about the kids who fought and gave up their lives for the future of SA.”
Source – DailySun
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