SOWETO UPRISING: 42 YEARS LATER, WHAT ABOUT THE YOUNG WOMEN?

Every year, in South Africa the month of June the government rolls out different projects and events to commemorate the historic day of June 16, 1976. Every year, its the same story, same symbolic photograph that has come to be known as the image of the movement.

The young women of the then movement for educational liberation have seemingly been erased from the history books. A lot of the history around this country, is centred around what men have done as though women didn’t play a significant role in the liberation movement. Today, when you have to mention the commemorating of young women, people ask questions about why do you care to only mention the young women when even the young men at the time were in the front lines. No one wants to take a minute to admit that, for a very long time the mention of young women was never made as though they weren’t in the front lines.

Nowadays, people want to grant us equality without equity. People need to realize, that the story about the role of those young women has to be brought to the forefront because for a long time, no one was talking about their role and now that we are a generation that’s conscious of these facts, we are dedicating the time and spaces to commemorate their place in history. It is important that the story of those young women be told, it is important that it be highlighted at this time because no one has done it before, and frankly all we’ve heard are stories about the men. Why is it a problem when we prioritize the women’s narrative, why is that seen as taking away from the essence of the story of how young people played a role in liberating themselves and this country?

When we change the narrative, when we change how the story of young African women is told… What will rise in its place is an egalitarian society which fully represents all of us, equates our role and influences the youth of today even more knowing that there’s a place for all of them, young men and women alike.

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