The City of Johannesburg marked June 16 by unveiling a new memorial acre and a Garden of Hope dedicated to the class of 1976.
The June 16 Memorial Acre is a building that houses images, artefacts and a June 16 Memorial and Youth Institute. It tells the story of 16 June 1976, when students from across Soweto faced off against security forces whilst protesting against apartheid education. The memorial includes a double-storey building in the shape of an AK-47 assault rifle, a symbol of the struggle against apartheid, and a statue of Tsietsi Mashinini, one of the student leaders of the march.
Premier David Makhura and Acting Mayor, MMC Mally Mokoena cut the ribbon before the premier gave MMC Mokoena the keys and title deeds, symbolizing the handover of the memorial acre to the City.
The premier then planted a Tree of Youth at the site earmarked for the Garden of Hope, He announced that 23 trees representing students who were gunned down on 16 June 1976 would be planted at the Garden of Hope.
Thousands of participants had earlier joined in the march and wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the 38th anniversary of16 June 1976, which turned the course of South African history and shaped its future.
Premier Makhura urged the youth of Soweto to make use of the Centre to showcase their talent. "The Institute will become a Centre for memory and a resource for young people to contribute to community development through various youth developmental programmes that will be run from the institute."