Every year on June 16th, South Africa marks Youth Day. This day is set apart to celebrate the legacy of youth activism in South Africa, and to recognize today’s youth who shape the future of the nation. The day is rooted in the events of June 16th, 1976, when thousands of students in Soweto, Johannesburg organized a march against oppressive language policies in their schools. Students were being forced to learn in Afrikaans rather than in their native languages, a policy which reinforced the government’s domination over the Black majority while hindering Black students’ ability to critically analyze what they were being taught.

The peaceful protest was met with violent suppression. Police opened fire on the marching schoolchildren; 176 were killed and over a thousand were wounded. The tragedy became known as “The Day Apartheid Died,” because it awakened much of the globe’s conscience to the gruesome truth of apartheid South Africa. A powerful radio documentary of the same name can be heard here.

Today, Youth Day is celebrated not only to keep the memory of those children alive, but to recognize the great power and potential of today’s South African youth. It is this potential that drives our work in Cape Town. CHOSA believes that every child is entitled to grow up in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment, and we work tirelessly with our community partners to provide the care these children need. To make a donation today in honor of the youth we serve, please visit www.chosa.org/donate. Also, be on the lookout for a post about our upcoming Online Art Raffle next month. We hope you’ll participate!

Thank you for your continued support.