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Youth Day: 5 places to visit to commemorate June 16

A fresh young cast perform ‘Sarafina!’, the broadway hit musical, during the opening night at the South Africa State Theatre. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

A fresh young cast perform ‘Sarafina!’, the broadway hit musical, during the opening night at the South Africa State Theatre. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Published Jun 15, 2022

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South Africa has a painful history of segregation and apartheid. Unfortunately, some would rather we forget the past – but we can’t.

Youth Day is a commemoration of the Soweto Uprising, on June 16, 1976. On this day, more than 20 000 youth from Soweto took to the streets in protest against a directive, from the then Bantu Education Department, that Afrikaans had to be used as a medium of instruction in secondary schools.

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According to the government, about 700 young people were killed in the violent crashes between pupils and police.

Here are five places to visit on the day or this month in order to remember our fallen heroes who laid the foundation for the freedoms we enjoy today.

1. The Hector Pietersen Memorial

If you’re around Johannesburg and surrounding areas, why not visit the Hector Pietersen Memorial and Mandela House?

This year, the Memorial celebrates 20 years since it opened on June 16, 2002.

Once you’re there, Mandela House is around the corner and you can end off the day with a nice lunch on Vilakazi Street.

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Two pupils walk past the Hector Pietersen Museum, in Soweto, with the famous photo taken by Sam Nzima, of Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying the lifeless body of Hector Pieterson, with Hector’s sister Antoinette running alongside. Picture: Antoine de Ras

2. The Mandela Capture Site in the KZN Midlands

This is a great activity for the whole family and children under 12 get in for free entry.

The Capture Site is operating on Youth Day, so you can pop the kids in the car or take your friends on a road trip on the day, and explore the Midlands while you’re there.

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A man takes a picture with his mobile phone, of a sculpture of former president Nelson Mandela, unveiled on Saturday, August 4, 2012, in Howick, in the KwaZulu- Natal Midlands, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mandela's capture at this site by the apartheid police. Picture: SAPA stringer

3. The District Six Museum in Cape Town

The District Six Museum tells the traumatic story of Kanaldorp and District Six.

The area was a vibrant community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants, who were forcefully removed and displaced under the brutal hand of the National Party’s apartheid government.

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The museum is open on the public holiday and bookings are essential. Donations are highly welcome, as the museum took a knock during Covid-19.

February 11 is the 50th anniversary of the day when District Six was declared a white group area, leading – two years later – to the forced removal of thousands of residents from Cape Town. This day will be marked by an exhibition called ‘Leaving District Six’, hosted at the District Six Museum. Picture: Jason Boud

4. KwaMuhle Museum

Although the museum is not open on Youth Day, you can visit it at some time during the month. KwaMuhle Museum curates the history of apartheid KZN, while honouring those who fought against its injustices.

KwaMuhle is a Zulu term that means “the place of the good one” and was named in reference to its first manager, Mr Marwick, who helped Zulu people escape Gauteng during the Anglo-Boer War.

The KwaMuhle Museum – which once housed the Department of Native Affairs – now houses Durban's colourful history. Picture: http://durbanhistorymuseums.org.za
A fresh young cast perform ‘Sarafina!’ the Broadway hit musical, during the opening night at the South Africa State Theatre. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

5. Sarafina!

Last but definitely not least, if you want to get into the spirit but cannot leave the house, why not watch “Sarafina!”.

The 1992 film, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo, has become a tradition for many South Africans to watch on Youth Day.

It will be airing on eTV at 3pm on Youth Day. Even better, if you love theatre, the Broadway version of “Sarafina!” will be on show at The Playhouse from July 15 and you can book your tickets online at Webtickets.co.za

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