This South African
public holiday, previously known as Soweto
Day, is celebrated every June 16th
In 1975, protests started in African schools after a directive issued by the Bantu Education Department
said that Afrikaans
was to be used on an equal basis with English
as a language
of instruction in secondary schools
. The students rumbling voice of dissent
quickly grew after this, but their problem was not entirely with this latest directive, rather with the whole system of Bantu education
which could be characterized by overcrowding
in the classrooms
, and teachers who were completely incapable
of teaching their subjects.
On the 16th
of June 1976, more than 20 000 students from Soweto began to march in protest. This very quickly led to clashes with the police, and over the next few weeks, the ensuing violence claimed the lives of over 700 people (mostly youths), and the destruction of a massive amount of property.
This day is now remembered with a public holiday
, and South Africa's most watched sporting event of the year, the Comrades marathon
is also held on this day.