We are the Stow Family and this is our story. Our lives are blessed by Love, Joy and Hope. Follow our sometimes interesting stories on loving our two boys, exploring parenthood, and celebrating a little extra - two parents, two boys and an extra chromosome!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1976

Yesterday we had a wonderful public holiday! I love those! Darryl and I met some friends and had a nice picnic with Malakai and their little one Caden.

But we often don’t remember why we have public holidays… and so, this post is a little ‘101’ on South African history. June 16th 1976, South Africa saw one of it’s most violent and brutal uprisings. Now referred to as ‘Youth Day’, back in 1976 it was a terrible day for many young South Africans. In the deepest midst of the Apartheid Era (where segregation, racism, terrorism and fear was rife), black children living in the townships were only allowed to attend Bantu (for my foreign friends, this is pronounced ‘bun-to’) Schools. Bantu Schooling was specifically for the black population. Not only where these children not allowed to attend ‘white schools’ but they were also given an inferior level education, fit only for those children to one day become domestic workers and hard laborers. Then, in early 1976, these children were told that they were going to be forced to learn in Afrikaans (not their mother tongue)… Well, this was the cherry on top, and the youth of Soweto decided to plan an uprising and protest to show their anger at being forced to learn in a language they didn’t understand.

The 1976 Riots were made up of children, ranging from 6/7 years to 17/18 years old, marching through the streets of Soweto, singing and dancing in unison to show their solidarity. The South African Armed forces descended on these children with military tanks, tear gas, dogs, rubber bullets… real bullets… I forget now how many children were killed. But any loss of a child’s life… even one. And there was definitely more than one life lost that day.

So, yesterday we celebrated Youth Day, a day that remembers a time in our country’s history that is so violent, so brutal, so thoughtless and horrific. I am proud today to say that I am a South African, that I live in a country where everyone is free. No, we don’t have schools for every child, in some rural areas children walk barefoot for miles to reach their school, which is just a building without desks, chairs, books or even running water. But they go, everyday, to learn what they can with such little. Our country has come a long way, but still has a long long way to go.

This is about remembrance, but it is also about gratitude for what we have now.

3 comments:

Elriza Paul said...

Very beautiful, now I learnt something new too! (Must admit, I thought it was just because there was a mother's day and a father's day but no "children" day, lol, just kiddin'). I agree, also proud to be a South African and we have one of the best countries in the world!!!

Lianna said...

Your post makes me realize how grateful I should be for the opportunities I've been given in this life.♥

Beth said...

Thank you sharing your history. South Africa has come such a long way in 33 years--Imagine how different it will be when Malakai is an adult!