16 June 2014

Youth Day at the Taalmuseum in Paarl: 20 Years of Freedom discussion

The Afrikaanse Taalmuseum en -monument in Paarl, in collaboration with Koinonia, presented a special programme of discussion in celebration of Youth Day and of 20 Years of Freedom, on Saturday 14 June. Koinonia is a Paarl based organisation offering support services to youth on a national level.

According to Catherine Snel, Manager of Heritage and Education at the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum, the aim of the day was to raise awareness, especially amongst young people, about the Apartheid government’s language policy in schools that lead to the student uprising on 16 June 1976, and the outcomes thereof, including mother tongue education for learners today.

“Our programme offered young people an opportunity to engage in conversation with the youth of 1976, academics, museum staff and peers. Learners, students, youth groups and community organisations attended the event.”

The programme kicked off with a short summary of events that lead up to 16 June 1976, followed by a multi-media presentation of “I am an African”, as read by former president Thabo Mbeki. Three guest speakers participated: well-known activist and pastor Chris Nissen talked about 16 June 1976, Eddie Williams of Koinona shared his memories of the first time he voted in 1994, and “born-free” Amber Cupido discussed her experiences of the new South Africa.

Local dance group PE JAKS portrayed the theme of 20 Years of Freedom, Lizann Isaacs read the Ingrid Jonker poem “The Child” and the audience sang the national anthem to conclude the day.