Dear Youth: Is June 16 a Lost Cause?

When Solomon Mahlangu walked from the accused box to the witness stand at the Mesina Periodical High Court; it was a distance of about five meters. It seemed 5km, and except the chains that shackled him; you could hear a pin drop. It was evident and clear that he was walking to a bound future of no return, taking the history of South Africa with him. There was hope, fear, anxiety, suspense, tears and faith.

The then youth of Solomon Mahlangu’s era were united in the purpose of transformation, liberty and freedom for all. They were a people of values with a culture of respect and Ubuntu, something that Solomon Mahlangu proudly died for. The question is: Has he died for a lost cause? The youth of June 16, 1976 who traded their future for a common good of all, have they done so in vain? The girls who lost their future motherhood to take arms for the struggle, was it worth the sacrifice?

The struggle of June 16 was a construction of a moral compass that would take a nation to a rainbow celebration which remains but still a dream today. It was a piloting of an aircraft spirited by reconciliation, love and respect, which is still a distance far away. It was meant to be a vehicle of economic freedom in a land of equal opportunities yet paradoxically, the worse has happened. It was a construction of a broom to sweep clean corruption and mop out the pain, disgrace, embarrassment and shame that had engulfed our nation, but somehow; the soil of evil has been watered and fertilized with selfishness, greed and naked daylight looting of the nation’s resources, hence the question: Is June 16 a lost cause? Is this what Solomon Mahlangu died for?

One thing though remains evident and undisputed to be learned by the current generation; history is the best judge. The names of the just, I have never forgotten, evil is always seen to be what it is. It is clearly evident that our interpretation of June 16 is wrong. It was not an uprising, it was not an event, it has not passed. It’s a baton. A baton that was meant to be passed to us to continue to pursue the course of righteousness, justice and a meaningful true freedom for all. June 16, 1976 is not in the past, it is our path for the future to rewrite the wronged history. Surely, it cannot be a lost cause.

Written by: Professor Solly Solomons, Hazyview Digital Learning Campus Non-Executive Director.