Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane will tomorrow, June 16, together
with the world pay tribute to the youth of South Africa
who 34 years ago stood up against the apartheid government to protest against inferior education and other social ills. The
highlight of the events will be the a wreath laying ceremony at the
Hector Peterson Memorial.
High profile participants at the event will include high ranking FIFA
officials; SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani; Chairman of the
LOC Irvin Khoza, CEO of the 2010 LOC Dr Danny Jordaan; and soccer
legends such as Lucas Radebe, Kalusha Bwalya, Doctor Khumalo and
former French international Patrick Vieira.
“Football has, over the years, served as a unifier and a
nation-builder. This World Cup is proof to that. All you have to do
is look at the flags being proudly hoisted by South Africans today.
These are some of the reasons the youth of 1976 took to the street. It
is only fitting that we doff our hats to them during this incredible
tournament,” Mokonyane said.
Thirty-four years ago, apartheid police opened fire on innocent
students who were protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a
medium of instruction in all African schools. Many died and scores
were left injured. The uprising left an indelible mark on South
Africa – further speeding up FIFA’s decision to expel South Africa as
one of its members.
South Africa finally lost its FIFA membership in the latter part of
1976, adding pressure on the apartheid state to abandon its
racist policies as the world increased its isolation of the apartheid regime.
“On this day the world has an opportunity to learn and remember
sacrifices made by the youth of June 16 to ensure free South
Africa,” Premier Mokonyane said.
The victorious spirit of the June 16 generation will spur Bafana
Bafana when they face Uruguay in their scheduled World Cup match at
Loftus Versveld in Tshwane.
Details of the events:
Wreath-laying ceremony in Orlando, Soweto