On 16th June 2015, Youth gathered at Beautiful Gate to commemorate the Soweto youth uprising on 16 June 1976.
Beautiful Gate, in partnership with SRC leadership from the College of Cape Town, Amy Biehl Foundation, City of Cape Town and New Africa Development Corporation coordinated a youth programme which included sport, dance, and debate. The main idea, was to encourage young people to stand up for something and to have hope.
As Sonwabile Dwangu, Manager of the Youth Resource Centre said "The youth of that generation had a purpose. And we want to encourage the youth of today to see their own purpose. To get more education, to play a role in developing their communities and to take their futures' seriously."
About Youth Day
Youth Day commemorates the Soweto youth uprising on 16 June 1976. On 16 June 1976, more than 15 000 students gathered at Orlando West Secondary School with the intention of participating in a peaceful march to the nearby Orlando Stadium. The demonstration had been planned in protest against the use of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction at schools. However, the police and armed forces responded to the protest violently and the first fatality of the day was Hector Pieterson, a 12-year-old pupil who was shot by the police. It is believed that 175 others were also killed that day.
In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the then Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools. The issue, however, was not so much the Afrikaans as the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers.
This violent backlash to what was meant to be a peaceful march caught the attention of the international community. After this event, many countries imposed sanctions on South Africa in an attempt to force the apartheid government to ease its repressive rule.
(Source: http://www.gov.za/youth-day-2015; http://www.gov.za/youth-month-2015)
39 years later, progress has been made through the signing of the Social Accord on Youth Employment, the establishment of the National Youth Development Agency and the National Youth Development Policy framework. However, many young people in our community still face inequality in their education, unemployment and lack of access to opportunities.
About our Response
Beautiful Gate has a proactive youth development programme that provides access to information and opportunities through our Youth Resource Centre. We offer career guidance & mentoring; and linkages to various skills development and tertiary education institutions. High school learners receive tutoring support, especially in Maths, Science and Accounting.
Primary school learners can participate in our after school programme that offers homework clubs, sports, dance, drama, music and gospel programmes. We believe that providing young people the opportunity to improve their education outcomes, participate in sports and life skills, and giving them a safe space to have fun, can reduce their chances of gang involvement and other negative influences.
We are currently looking for new supporters to enable us to grow these programmes. Please email Tino if you’d like more information or to get involved.
Welcome to a window into the lives and issues facing children in the Crossroads community on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Most of these stories centre around the children and families we work with at Beautiful Gate South Africa, a Christian non-profit organisation whose mission is to show God's love as we care for and protect children, empower and preserve families and mobilise our community to do the same.