They were born so that we’re born free

Inspired by the class of ’76, Youth Day in South Africa remembers the day when young African students in Soweto were punished for standing up and protesting against the iniquities of the Apartheid government, specifically a 1974 government decree that forced all schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50-50 mix as the languages of instruction.

Today, 38 years since after the Soweto riots, and 20 years since the first democratic election in South Africa, Under the Digital Tree of Knowledge at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, grade eight student, Petronella Mdluli, delivered this ode to the class of 1976:

Petronella Mdluli delivering her poem at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre.

Petronella Mdluli delivering her poem at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre.

Back in June 1976

Back in the years of struggle, students died
Our brothers and sisters
They died
For a great future
For the freedom that we have
They sacrificed their lives
Fighting for our lives
Struggling for our lives.

For freedom they battled
For a better life, they battled
For better education,
For our rights,
For humanity,
For peace,
For the change that we see
They died.

They sold their blood
For us,
They paid with their lives,
For our lives,
They were seen as animals,
So that we are seen as humans
They were forced to do things
So that in this future we can make our own decisions
They were hated so that we’re loved
They were born so that we’re born free.

Yes, now we’re born free
We live free.

Together for change…

Our poets on Youth Day, from left: Goodness Mnisi, Petronella Mdluli and Nikiwe Matsane.

Our poets on Youth Day, from left: Goodness Mnisi, Petronella Mdluli and Nikiwe Matsane.

A colourful youth day under the Tree.

A colourful youth day under the Tree.

 

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