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Youth Day an emotional day

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Youth Day an emotional day

by Nurene Jassiem
20 Jun 2006
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

'Here is the photo of my son's funeral. It was a very sad day for everyone. But its all over now.' Touching words that came from a very subdued Rabecca Truter as she stood before hundreds of people at a memorial service in Bonteheuwel on Youth Day. Truter's son, Christopher Truter, was killed on 25 August 1976 at the tender age of 15 during one of the student uprisings.

"Mrs Truter is the symbol of parents who saw their children go to school and cried because they never knew if the children would return home due to the riots," Dr Alan Boesak, who addressed the crowd at the Bonteheuwel Civic Centre, said.

Addressing learners from various schools across Cape Town, Boesak said: "Today you don't have to die for your freedom - all you have to do is to take it and make something of yourself".

The vibrant crowd joined in the singing of freedom songs such as "Hamba Kahle" ("Go well") between speeches and calls of "Amandla! Ngawethu!" ("Power to the people!") echoed down the roads of Bonteheuwel.

The leader of the Independent Democrats, Patricia De Lille, told the youths present: "You are not only our future, but you are also our present. We must create the space for our youth to flourish. We must resist those who are raping and abusing our youth".

"Go out and become useful citizens and not useless citizens," she added.

In her address, the Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille, recalled her experience of the 1976 uprisings when she was a journalist at the Rand Daily Mail.

"I recall it as if it was yesterday that I was privileged as a young reporter to have a deep insight into the student uprisings. The regime's response at the time was interesting as they tried to search for scapegoats while the youth rose in revolt against them". Zille added that although South Africa has achieved a lot as a nation, "We as a society have not done enough in terms of education, which was the main focus of the student uprisings".

"I hope that in 30 years from now, we will see the fruit of the liberation through excellent education. We must commit ourselves to taking the struggle forward," she said.

After the speeches, the procession proceeded to the front of the Civic Centre, where wreaths were laid in memory of those killed during the student uprisings.

Other dignitaries at the event included Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, MEC Pierre Uys, MEC Tasneem Essop, MEC Leonard Ramatlakane, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndugane, ANC provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha and MEC Mqulwana Koleka.

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