The National Museum is celebrating Youth Month 2023 with an array of activities. The Museum’s launched its annual Free State Young Artists Competition. Temporary exhibitions were on display at both National Museum and Oliewenhuis Art Museum.
2023 marks the 47th anniversary of the June 16 Soweto and other related uprisings. The Soweto uprising ended tragically with hundreds of young people brutally killed.
Following the advent of democracy in 1994, the new democratic government declared 16 June as National Youth Day and June as Youth Month. This year National Youth Day and Youth Month will be celebrated under the theme: “Accelerating youth economic emancipation for a sustainable future”.
Oliewenhuis Art Museum invited the public to join them to celebrate Youth Day where several temporary exhibitions on displays. They also profiled the work of young resistance artists on social media. Resistance artists, 𝗗𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗹𝗲 𝗙𝗲𝗻𝗶, 𝗝𝘂𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗠𝗼𝘁𝗮𝘂 and 𝗘𝘇𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗟𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗲 were the leading resistance artists from as early as the 1960s. The work of these artists reflects their daily struggles; poverty, malnutrition, displacement, and, ultimately, the brutal, dangerous, and inhumane circumstances they lived in. Even though they were 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴, 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗳𝘂𝗹 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, at the time they were infuriated by their inescapable plight and fearlessly voiced their frustration within their artworks.
The Youth Day Commemoration Official Event took place in Bloemfontein, Free State Province, in the form of an Opportunities Expo with real time opportunities for over 4000 young people. Museum CEO, Sharon Snell, attended the official celebrations on 16 June 2023 at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung. The keynote address was given by Deputy President Paul Mashatile.
The 2023 Youth Month will focus on a spectrum of opportunities for young people in the private sector, public sector, and civil society across the spectrum. This includes employment, entrepreneurship, skills development and youth service opportunities and a range of support to assist young people to find traction in the labour market.
In his address the deputy president reminded everybody that the youth of 1976 laid their lives for a purpose. He said that they were driven by a resolve to bring down apartheid in favour of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united, and prosperous South Africa. Their undying spirit and commitment to ending apartheid helped pave the way for a more equitable education system in South Africa. Because of them, the youth in schools are not compelled to acquire an inferior education in the language that has been imposed upon them. Moreover, the youth of 1976 fought for their political freedom; now, we must fight for economic freedom; thus, the theme for this year is “Accelerating Youth Economic Emancipation for a sustainable future.”