Youth Day: Mashatile leads commemorations in Mangaung

South Africa is remembering the youth of 1976, who fought against the use of Afrikaans as a language of instruction in schools

Deputy President Paul Mashatile is expected to lead Youth Day commemorations on Friday, 16 June 2023 in Mangaung, Free State. The theme for this year’s celebrations is accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future.

The day is meant to remember the black youths who were protesting against the use of Afrikaans in the classroom. The apartheid government had directed that the language be used as a medium of instruction in high schools. It was on 16 June 1976 that the uprising started – demonstrations against the policy started in Soweto, Johannesburg, and soon spread to other parts of the country. The marches, led by students and other parties, was meant to culminate at a rally at Orlando Stadium.



With President Cyril Ramaphosa attending the peace mission to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Mashatile, being his second-in-command, will reflect on this year’s Youth Day.

The commemoration in Mangaung will also feature an “opportunities expo” with real-time education, funding and mentorship opportunities that young people can access.

“The commemoration is aimed at effecting positive youth development efforts from local, provincial and national levels in South Africa,” the Presidency said in a statement.

“It is a day when South Africa as a whole celebrates the role of young people in shaping the country’s history and future … South Africa is the first country on the African continent to host the world-sporting showpiece,” government added.

Mashatile will be accompanied by Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Acting Free State Premier Ketso Makume and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) Chairperson Asanda Luwaca.