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  HOME PAGE 23/09/2021 21:59 
17.06.2021 01:42 News >> Youth Played Vital Role In South Africa's Freedom Against Apartheid: President

Youth Played Vital Role In South Africa's Freedom Against Apartheid: President

South Africa applauds role of young people in fighting for freedom on Day of the African Child.

South Africa's president said Wednesday that young people who took part in the 1976 Soweto student uprising contributed greatly to the country's freedom against apartheid.
"When many of our leaders were jailed or exiled, it was young people who showed the world that freedom is not given, but it is taken," Cyril Ramaphosa said in a virtual address commemorating the 45th anniversary of the uprising.
Black students fed up with the policies of the then white minority government marched to Soweto, a township in Johannesburg, to protest against the use of the Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction in schools when police fired on them.
Dozens were killed, although the exact number remains unknown.
June 16 has been commemorated across the continent since 1991 as the Day of the African Child to honor those who participated in the Soweto uprising.
The day raises awareness of the continuing need for improvement of education provided to African children.
Ramaphosa paid tribute to all those who lost their lives during the uprising, saying the nation acknowledges their sacrifices and their courage to take on the apartheid state.
He said their actions spurred an international movement for the isolation of the apartheid regime.
The racial segregation system of apartheid which demeaned Blacks in South Africa ended in 1994 with the election of the country's first democratic government led by the late Nelson Mandela.
"They [students/youth] lit a fire of resistance that the racist government of Pretoria would not be able to extinguish, no matter how hard they tried," he said.
Ramaphosa saluted the youth of 1976, saying the country owes its liberation to them and to the many others who sacrificed for today's freedom.
He said South Africa is an infinitely better place than it was in 1976.
"Young people have opportunities that were denied to their parents and grandparents," he said, but added that it is sad to note that there is rising youth unemployment of nearly 64%.
Ramaphosa said his government has set up several initiatives aimed at fighting youth unemployment by putting young people at the center of the country's national recovery plan.​​​​​​​
"It is the singular focus of this administration to ensure that young people are given access to opportunities so they can better themselves, that they can drive change in their communities and contribute to our economy," he said as he outlined several initiatives, including the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention launched last February and the Presidential Employment Stimulus. -



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