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Introduction: Commemorating Youth in the Struggle

Silkscreened, produced by CAYCO, 1987. Archived as SAHA collection AL2446_2567



Each year in June, South Africa celebrates and commemorates the role played by the youth in the struggle for freedom.

On June 16, 1976, the Soweto Uprising took place. On this day, the youth of Soweto took charge and were determined to take action against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. Youth Day is therefore both a sombre day and a day of celebration. We recognise their passion, their determination and their fearlessness in taking on the apartheid state and demanding a better future for themselves.

However, the cost of such action was high. Hundreds of young people were killed, thousands were injured and countless were detained without trial. June 16 then is also a day to pause, and remember the sacrifices that the youth made so that today we can be free.

 As the South African Youth Congress stated:

“The youth have occupied the foremost trenches in the battle for freedom in South Africa"[i]

Exhibitions in the classroom

Pausing for thought

Create a Youth Manifesto

Think about the title of this exhibition: The Future is Ours. The youth of today are our future, and the future belongs to them. Young people of today have the power to create a better future for themselves and for this country. Discuss in groups what kind of future you would like to have. Using the ideas generated in this discussion, draw up a youth manifesto, which outlines your group’s vision for the future.



[i] SOURCE: Youth in Action, SAYCO newsletter, date unknown.


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