By ^GZ –
While my peers filled up their cooler boxes with alcohol and organised themselves at events and parties for June 16 festivities, I was at work with MMC of Community Development Nonhlanhla Sifumba who led the City’s commemoration of the 41st anniversary of Youth Day under the theme: “A Season of Hope for Gauteng Youth” at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Orlando West, Soweto.
Youth Day is one of the most important days in South African history, which marks the legacy of the struggle for freedom in South Africa. More than anything, this year’s June 16 commemoration was a day of reflection for me as we honoured the youth of 1976 with wreath-laying ceremonies and a honorary blue plaque. Among the guests were the friends and family of the 1976 youth that took part in the 1976 Soweto uprisings.
The City went on to acknowledge the important role played by the youth of 1976 in paving the way towards the future of a democratic nation. One of these remarkable people was Seth Mazibuko, who was one of the leaders of the Soweto uprisings in 1976 and also among the youngest prisoners on Robben Island at 16 years old (I think retired Judge Moseneke was the youngest). The City honoured Mazibuko with the unveiling of a blue plaque at his home in Orlando East, Soweto. This ceremony officially marks his home as a Soweto heritage site that can be visited by tourists and locals.
He was celebrated by his peers, the likes of musicians Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya who were at the unveiling to show their support. The community of Orlando East participated in a street carnival, which was held in his honour at the unveiling.
Local bands and youngsters came out in their numbers to show their appreciation for the role Mazibuko played in paving the future for them. To the community of Orlando East, Mazibuko is a hero whom they speak fondly of.
Sifumba’s last stop was at Mbuyisa Makhubu School in Orlando West to pay her respects to the memory of Makhubu, who carried Pieterson on that day he was shot on June 16 1976. She was given a warm welcome by the school’s pupils, who also had sports games taking place in her honour.
The City went all out to ensure that the memory of the 1976 youth was remembered this year. Go to www.joburg.org.za to see more of our #YouthMonth initiatives that have taken place in the month of June.