Youth month significance

J Colin Jooste, Observatory

This poem speaks to the actual confrontation on June 16 1976 when a group of young people who had the courage of their conviction, were indiscriminately fired on by South African police.

It is the 16th of June

and the young people are over the moon,

for today they are going to sing a tune

that will cause the racist regime incontrovertible ruin!

Their march kicks off with a song and dance

heavily armed police stand as though in a trance;

That they will shoot, we don’t for a moment believe,

oh dear, as children how could we be so naive?

Toyi toying rhythmically we advanced, no thought of retreat,

we’ve come this far, we’re not going to suffer defeat.

“Manskappe * ê aan maak gereed, skiet die donners.”

Gunfire, smoke, pandemonium, hysterical screaming!

“This can’t be true, it’s a nightmare! I’m only dreaming.”

Bodies strewn everywhere, blood from it streaming.

Those who survive are pistol-whipped, beaten with a rubber baton!

Boere shouting abuse in Afrikaans sounds, more like ancient Latin,

protesting for being taught in a language not our mother tongue,

sadly, none for this murderous slaughter will be strung up and hung!