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The youth of 1976 were determined and selfless freedom fighters who will continue to inspire many more generations to come, the EFF said on Monday.
“It is gospel truth that the youth of 1976 defined a generational mission for themselves which was to challenge the apartheid system,” Economic Freedom Fighters spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
He said the youth of the time used language to oppose the racist and oppressive apartheid regime.
Monday marks South Africa’s 38th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprisings. On 16 June 1976, a group of schoolchildren set off from Morris Isaacson High School in Orlando, Soweto, to protest over Afrikaans being the medium of instruction, among other grievances against the apartheid government.
There was a stand-off with police, who opened fire on the children. The township was sealed off and attacks on government buildings followed; as well as the flight of many youths and political leaders into exile. This day is now commemorated as youth day.
Ndlozi said the party adopted its founding manifesto in response to generational challenges that currently faced the country.
“These questions were about how will poverty, unemployment, and inequalities be resolved seeing that the government of the day has abandoned the mission of radical transformation of society that has been flowing from generation to generation.”
He said the party’s answer was “economic freedom in our lifetime”.
The implementation of the EFF’s “seven cardinal pillars,” including the expropriation of land, the nationalisation of mines and banks, free quality education, health care, houses, and sanitation, the development of the African economy and a corruption-free government amongst others, would also transform the life of the youth.
“This program will lead to the final resolution of apartheid economic conditions that exclude millions of people, blacks in particular, and render them as cheap and easily disposable labour,” said Ndlozi.
He said that poverty, inequality and unemployment would remain a challenge unless there was a reconciliation to the means of subsistence, land, mines and other strategic industries.
The party also urged the youth “to join in the economic emancipation struggle, ” to commemorate the efforts of the youth of 1976.
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