june 16th/ke nako

today is youth day here in south africa. june 16th.

though a lot of blood was spilled and many young lives were lost in order to get to the present, for many today is no more than a public holiday, a day off from work, a day to party. last year  i wrote a post about the historical significance of this day, but seeing as south african is hosting the soccer world cup  and our team has the country’s spirits at an unusual high and everyone is at fever-pitch with excitement over tonight’s game against uruguay, all i’ll say this year is, GO BAFANA BAFANA!!!

it’s interesting that for decades the word most associated with south africa, was apartheid. now it’s vuvuzela!  amazing how support of the green and gold is unifying the country in a way very little else has in a long time. i even made a bafana-colored hula hoop today and then did some photoshop.

yebo, ke nako! it is here!

and everybody seems to be feeling it.

and i want to thank everyone who helped to make our flag fly free and made it possible for us to be so proud to fly it.

edited thursday night:

so we were shot down! kinda appropriate for june 16th, but you know what, the boys don’t need our support as much when they’re doing well. now is when we need to back them, so i’ll say it again, “GO BAFANA BAFANA!!! SHOW DEM!!!”

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33 years on…

It started as a peaceful protest march by youths against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in Black Schools in Soweto, and escalated into a nation-wide revolt, irreversibly revitalizing the struggle for liberation in South Africa.

Bailey's African History Archives

The Day Our Kids Lost Faith – Marching kids, in a mood common to school kids the world over happy that they were not in class, good naturedly protesting against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction at their schools. They march from Naledi Township, at the south western end of Soweto, collecting others on their route to Orlando East, the north eastern end of the vast complex. If the police had not tried to wrest the posters from the children, if they had not tried to arrest any of them, if they had not tried to set dogs on to them, if they had not fired shots, June 16 would not have been as black a day as it turned out to be.

the photograph which galvanized the world (Sam Nzima / South Photographs)

the above images and description come from a site about south african history. check it out for  gut-wrenching photographs capturing this pivotal moment in our history. in the picture mbuyisa makhubu is carrying the fatally wounded hector peterson while his sister antoinette runs beside him. antoinette sithole today works at the hector pieterson museum, whereas nobody knows what happened to mbuyisa. he left the country the year after this picture was taken and eventually wound up in nigeria studying medicine. somewhere in the 80’s his family lost contact with him and to this day members of his family are anxious for any news of him.

i was 12 in 1976. in standard 5 (grade 7?), a prefect at my primary school and just old enough to be aware that something was happening, but not old enough to be politically active. at my school, the older kids all gathered at the fence in “solidarity” with the boycott, but we quickly cave when the principle ordered us to our classes.

hector pieterson too, was 12. he would never grow older. i’m sure there were other children killed that day, before sam nzima took that photograph, but it was that image which sped around the world and put what was happening in south africa in the forefront of world news. if not for that, we might not be living in this changed world we occupy today. it may not be perfect, but because of hector pieterson and the bravery of others who maybe unwittingly, were the change they wanted to see in the world, we have generations of “born free’s” who have no idea about apartheid and cannot even begin to comprehend what it is to have your life restricted by the color of your skin.

33 years later, today might just be another opportunity to get puza-faced (drunk) and enjoy a day off from work, but hector and youth like him are the real reason today is a holiday.

and i want to acknowledge that.

i salute them.