June 16, 1976 was a pivotal day in our country’s struggle against apartheid, led by young people of school-going age. The youth of ‘76, who took part in the Soweto Uprising, played a major role in drawing the world’s attention to the issues faced by oppressed people in South Africa.
Thanks to technology and the fact that lockdown has us more digitally engaged than ever, there’s nothing stopping you from paying tribute to the bravery of these young people today by leveraging online tools.
ASK: True to the adage that there is no harm in asking – do so, especially to understand various aspects of the protest then which may very well help you draw comparisons with the protests happening around the world today inspired by the same ideal – equality. Google Assistant can answer any number of spoken or written questions about when and why we celebrate Youth Day. It’s a simple mechanism that need one only ask – either through voice or text. As much as you may very well have used it to manage your day-to-day life and even aspects of your work engagements, there’s no reason not to use it for this.
LISTEN: Photographer Sam Nzima, whose photograph of Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying gunned-down 13-year-old Hector Pieterson away from the crowds during the Soweto uprising, sat down with TIME Magazine in 2016 (alongside Pieterson’s sister) to shoot a short 11-minute video documentary on the events of 16 June 1976. You can watch the documentary for free on the TIME YouTube Channel under the title Soweto Uprising: The Story Behind Sam Nzima’s Photograph.
VISIT: While The Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum in Soweto, located a short 8-minute walk away from President Nelson Mandela’s house, is always worth its weight, if one prefers to gain a similar understanding while socially distancing, one might find a virtual visit just as useful. Soweto Riots: The Day Our Children Lost Faith offers an exhibition of images and a 360-degree view of the Hector Pieterson Memorial curated by Baileys African History Archive and Africa Media Online and hosted by Google Arts & Culture. The virtual exhibit which tells the story of how a protest that started out peacefully ended in the loss of innocent lives.
LEARN: At the time of the Soweto Uprising, South African youth in the townships and rural areas had very few options for the lives they would lead after grade school. Fast forward to 2020, and today some interesting options exist for anyone to acquire the skills they need through platforms like Google Digital Skills for Africa where you can learn how to grow your career or business at your own pace, and obtain an accredited certificate that can help boost your prospects.
We may be under lockdown, but we can still commemorate the lives of the youth of ‘76 and celebrate their resilience in ways we may not have considered before.