Have you told your kids why Youth Day is a public holiday in South Africa? Here’s how I tried:

Before you were born we had a bad president who had a bad government. This president said ‘white people you must live here’, ‘coloured people you must live here’ and ‘black people you must live here.’ He said that white people can’t be friends with black people. This was very wrong. One day the government decided that all the kids need to learn in Afrikaans at their schools, even the kids who only knew how to speak Xhosa or Zulu. This wasn’t fair because it’s hard to learn in a different language that you don’t know. The government didn’t want the black people to get too clever which was very wrong.

One day these children (they were actually big kids) from three different schools in a place called Soweto decided that they had had enough and made a plan to get together for a peaceful protest. They all got together early on the morning of June 16 to march to the stadium.  Their principal said, ‘Good luck everyone. Please be peaceful and behave well.’ All the children were very excited to march and sang songs together – there were about 10 000 kids all together. Continue Reading