Youth Day in South Africa in 2022

Youth Day in South Africa in 2022
Image via Deposit Photos

  How long until Youth Day?
Youth Day
  Dates of Youth Day in South Africa
2023 South Africa Fri, Jun 16 National Holiday
2022 South Africa Thu, Jun 16 National Holiday
2021 South Africa Wed, Jun 16 National Holiday
2020 South Africa Tue, Jun 16 National Holiday
2019 Jun 16, Jun 17
South AfricaMon, Jun 17National Holiday
South AfricaSun, Jun 16National Holiday

Previously known as Soweto Day. Youth Day marks the start of the Soweto riots of 1976

When is Youth Day?

Youth Day is a national holiday in South Africa celebrated on June 16th. If Youth Day falls on a Sunday, a public holiday will be observed on the following Monday.

Previously known as Soweto Day, Youth Day marks the start of the Soweto riots on this day in 1976.

History of Youth Day

The riots were ignited by a government ruling that all teaching in black schools would be held in Afrikaans.

The issue was not so much the teaching in Afrikaans, but rather the whole system of education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers for the black majority.

On June 16th 1976 nearly 30,000 pupils from Soweto joined a protest march. After several clashes with the police and sporadic violence over the next few weeks, approximately 700 people, many of them youths, had been killed and there was widespread destruction of property.

The iconic picture of a black schoolchild shot by the police (Hector Pieterson), 

Hector Pieterson, just 12-years-old at the time, was one of the first children to die during the student protest. According to SA History Online, a post-mortem revealed that Pieterson was killed by a shot fired directly at him and not by a bullet “ricocheting off the ground” as police claimed.

A photo, taken of Pieterson’s lifeless body being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu with his sister Antoinette Sithole nearby, became the iconic image of the 1976 Soweto Uprising — one that made its way around the world and highlighted the brutalities of the Apartheid regime to many people within and outside South Africa.

Youth Day commemorates these events by giving school children all over South Africa the day off.

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