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Youth Day: Fighting for Equal Education in Cape Town

Today, our volunteer projects in South Africa are observing Youth Day; a holiday dedicated to the youth of this amazing country. It honors the death of many schoolchildren on a day in 1976 that changed the course of history in South Africa.

Here, Cape Town Business Manager, Kaylee, shares with you a slice of this history, and how African Impact are still fighting for the rights of youth in this city.

 

The Soweto Uprising

Youth Day in South Africa is held on 16th June each year to commemorate the day that students in Soweto, Johannesburg, took a stance against the Apartheid rule. This rule saw black and ‘coloured’ pupils receive a far inferior education than that of their white counterparts.

For almost two decades prior, the Bantu Education Act (1953) had effectively seen the education of black and coloured persons be controlled and limited, which ensured a workforce of labourers and service personnel. Anything above this was deemed unnecessary.

The beginning of 1974 saw a further mandate imposed, the Afrikaans Medium Decree, whereby lessons had to be delivered in equal parts English, and Afrikaans. It did not matter that many local people did not speak Afrikaans, nor that few teachers outside of the Afrikaans population spoke it either. The law had changed, and that change set back the education of millions of South African students even further.

 

Protests against the Afrikaans Medium Decree

 

June 16th 1976

What was planned to be - and what started out as - a peaceful protest took a turn for the worse. Between 3000 and 10,000 students are said to have shown up to march through Soweto to Orlando Stadium. The mass of students never made it that far, as they soon came face to face with the police force. The nature of the protest changed.

There are conflicting reports about what started the change; some say the police watching the protest let angry police dogs into the crowd of children, effectively attacking them and when they fought back the police unleashed.

Other says it was the children who attacked the dog, and being a member of the police force, the police officers had to retaliate.

Either way, what ensued was utter chaos, leaving many dead and countless injured and afraid. Images of police opening fire in crowds of students circulated across the country, sparking further protests as students around the nation decided they too would stand up for their rights.

One photo, taken by Sam Nzima, was of Hector Pieterson, a 12-year-old boy. Caught up in the chaos, Hector was gunned down. As the panicked mass fled over the top of his body, Mbuyisa Makhubo stooped to pick him up. With Hector’s sister, Antoinette, at Mbuyisa’s side, the 3 of them became the unfortunate poster children for the fight for equality in South Africa. What was a plea for equal opportunity in education became a fight for life, one that was to take the attention on South Africa’s apartheid rule global.

 

Hector Pieterson

Mbuyisa Makhubo with Hector Pieterson's body

 

How far have we come we in Cape Town?

Over 40 years on, Apartheid has ended, but it’s ugly side remains evident in Cape Town.

Education of children is the key to any nation succeeding, but with inequality as it is, children from coloured or black communities are still at a distinct disadvantage.

Schools in communities are often vastly under-funded, only receiving government support if they meet strict registration regulations.

Teachers have little to no training; those that are qualified are poached by schools able to pay wages and provide job security and personal safety.

Children in communities often come from impoverished families, are sent to impoverished schools and live in impoverished conditions.

This is hardly the equality that Hector Pieterson and his classmates stood for.

 

Young street vendors working in Khayelitsha (Credit: Lyda Hanson, Volunteer)

 

What’s next for youth in South Africa?

But, the tide is turning. Across townships communities like Langa and Khayelitsha, NGO’s are popping up to help facilitate the registration of schools. With registration and the all-important funding secured, the schools are able to attract teachers or at least help train those hoping to enter the teaching workforce – benefiting not just students but helping to boost employment as well.

 

How you can help us this Youth Day

African Impact is working with a number of preschools in Cape Town to achieve just this. By introducing volunteers from all over the world with preschools in Khayelitsha, not only do the pupils benefit, but so do the teachers.

All those songs you were taught as a child, all those fun games and rhymes and puzzles – they all help shape your education. They make you school ready. Bring those skills with you to Khayelitsha and teach them to the preschool children we work with. Their English will improve, their counting will improve, their alphabet identification will improve. When it comes time to sit the entrance exam for preschool (yep, they really do sit these!), these children will have gained so much more knowledge and will have a head start at getting into the best schools. From there, the gap in education quality can be reduced.

Let’s breakdown the barriers preventing equal education for all. By making a sustainable impact we can really help make a measurable difference. This is not a volunteer program designed to be easy. It is challenging and will open your eyes to the realities of life in communities in Cape Town. But that’s the point. Let’s be honest about the differences that still exist and maybe then we can have a chance at equalising our education. That’s what the uprising was all about in 1976 – it’s time to stand up and do something about it.

Are you in? 

If so, learn more about our available volunteer programs in Cape Town:

 

Photographs of our Teaching & Youth Development volunteers in-action:

              

              

 

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AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia mount kilimanjaro Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain tanzania teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride
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