16 June (South Africa)
Youth Day, previously known as Soweto Day, commemorates an event in 1975 when protests started in African schools after a directive from the previous 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. On 16 June 1976 more than 20 000 pupils from Soweto rioted in protest. This led to eight months of violent uprisings across the country, and approximately 700 hundred people, many of them youths, lost their lives.
From an environmental perspective, we consider the role of youth - our future leaders - and the importance of educating and empowering them to make wise choices for a sustainable future.