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The most prominent event in South Africa which affects everyone who learns about it, is June 16 1976, The Soweto Uprising. Hector Petersen, a boy who died that day, became a symbol of the desperation that many South Africans, black and white, felt.
The South African government of the time had decreed that Black Africans had to be taught in Afrikaans, although for many of them it was a third language; their first language was one of the native Southern African languages such as Xhosa, Sotho or Zulu and English was their second language. Many of these children were already compromised as there were not sufficient teachers to teach them in their home language and they were taught in English but to have to be taught in Afrikaans meant that a successful education would be unlikely.
The date is remembered in South Africa annually as Youth Day and is a public holiday. The young people are encouraged to strive to help others and to appreciate the importance of education.
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