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Youth of 1976 should be an inspiration to all
- Updated: June 15, 2016
On the 40th anniversary of the student uprising in Soweto, SASCOC would like to pay tribute to those who struggled for justice and change in South Africa.
On 16 June 1976, thousands of students took to the streets in Soweto to protest against inferior education. Their actions inspired students from other parts of the country and set in motion a series of events that brought ultimate change in the country.
“We pay tribute to those young people, a generation, that inspired many of us in the sports movement to intensify our struggle for change in the country. The actions of those students compelled us to work tirelessly, in the face of tremendous challenges, to overcome and defeat apartheid. It is only fitting that their sacrifices are today acknowledged and celebrated as it eventually brought about change in our country”, said President of SASCOC, Gideon Sam.
Sam noted that the words of late President Nelson Mandela are very apt at this moment: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.”
“As we journey towards the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio later this year, we are confident that the spirit of sacrifice, unity, dedication, that symbolized the struggles of the students of 1976, will be deeply ingrained in the athletes representing our country”, added Sam.
“The actions of the students during the protests in Soweto in 1976 which spread throughout the country, was a timely reminder that apartheid and all its manifestations were contrary to normal human relations and development. It gave renewed impetus and momentum to many of us in the sports movement who strongly believed that there could be no normal sport in an abnormal society”, said Chief Executive of SASCOC, Tubby Reddy.
Reddy added: “We owe the students of 1976 tremendous gratitude and at the same time pay tribute to the many young people who were brutally cut down by the apartheid forces. As a country we lost many young people whose talents and skills could have been demonstrated on the global stage. We call on the youth of today to take up the baton of the fallen of 1976 who inspired all of us, and to aspire to excellence in all spheres, including sports.”