Youth day is popularly known as the Soweto Uprising or June 16. The uprisings tragically ended with hundreds of young people killed by the apartheid government when they protested against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction. Youth Day commemorates the Soweto youth uprising on 16 June 1976.
In 1975 protests started in African schools after a directive from the then Bantu Education Department that Afrikaans had to be used on an equal basis with English as a language of instruction in secondary schools. The issue, however, was not so much the Afrikaans as the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers.
The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), with strong support from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and various government departments will lead the Youth Day 2015 celebrations and a month-long programme of supporting activities.