NEHAWU salutes the gallant heroes and heroines of the 1976 Student Uprisings during this year's "Youth Month" for the role they played in exposing and displacing the apartheid regime's brutal machinery. The month of June is a very significant month in the history of this country because it reminds us of the heroic role played by the youth of our country to dismantle the evil and exploitative apartheid regime in South Africa.
June was declared a Youth Month in this country to honour and commemorate the contribution of those fearless young heroes and heroines in the fight for freedom,equality and justice. On the historic and fateful day of 16 June 1976, thousands of black students protested against the apartheid regime's decision to use Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools across the nation. These students were brutally mowed down by the apartheid police despite having ensured that theirs was a disciplined and peaceful march. Hundreds of students died as a result and Hector Pietersen and Hastings Ndlovu were the first casualties of this heinous crime that shook the world.
The Class of 76 responded to the challenges of their time with discipline, fearlessness and courage. Today's youth have the enormous task of waging a fearless struggle against unemployment, poverty and the growing levels of inequality in the country. The capitalist economic crisis has shattered the dreams of young people and has shown that the system offers no future for young people beyond poverty and slave wages.
Young people should organise and mobilise for a democratic developmental state and step up mass offensive against the capitalist exploitation. They have to wage militant and disciplined struggles to defend their right to education, jobs and equality. Unity and solidarity combined with a scientific view of history will enable today's young people to achieve their historic mission of overthrowing capitalism.
NEHAWU calls on young people to support the efforts to rebuild the ANC Youth League as a mass based formation to fight young people's struggles. Free education should be a priority and young people should ensure that those tasked with the responsibility to deliver on the promises do not take their eyes off the ball. The struggle for the opening of the doors of learning in the Western Cape should be waged relentlessly following the closure of several schools by the DA led provincial administration. We call on the national government to ensure that all schools have textbooks and all other required tools of learning for both teachers and students.
Our union calls on all young people to fight against self-defeating behaviour like drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancies,violence,neglect of education, sexual promiscuity and sexual abuse.
We salute the ongoing struggles of Chilean students against privatisation and high fees. We encourage our young people to be internationalist in their world outlook and also to participate in the global solidarity actions and campaigns. The future of the world belongs to the young, as the revolutionary theorist Cde Lenin once said'" Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world."