Thursday, 16 June 2016

Youth Day and Wedding Anniversary

It’s raining outside my window. Overcast. 16 degrees centigrade. It’s not cold but also not the way summer should look like.

In Pietermaritzburg, in South Africa, were we lived this time last year, it looks the same. Overcast. 18 degrees. South African winter.

I always think extra about South Africa this day. It is our wedding anniversary. 32 years. In South Africa it is Youth Day. A public holiday. Remembering the Soweto uprising in 1976.

This year it is forty years. In 1976 apartheid was a reality. It was the same in 1981-82 when I lived a year in Cape Town. In 1990 the ANC and other liberation movements were unbanned, Mandela and other freedom fighters were released from prison and the future looked bright.

South Africa went through a period between 1990 and 1994 that was far from peaceful. The transition was in some areas not peaceful. For instance in Pietermaritzburg a war was fought – the so called Seven Days War – in March 1990.

It was a miracle that South Africa could hold free and fair democratic elections in 1994 and see Mandela inaugurated as the first democratic president the same year.

Forty years after the Soweto uprising much has changed in South Africa. With the present leader a number of things have gone wrong. More and more often high profile South Africans are calling the president to step down. Which would be good.

My wife and I will celebrate our anniversary later today, when she returns from a confirmation camp. 

I also want to celebrate Youth Day in South Africa. I want to remember all those who have fought and still fight for freedom, democracy and human rights. It is an ongoing struggle. In South Africa and all over our globe.

Amandla. Awethu. A luta continua.

So what about the rain? In seTswana rain is 'Pula' and is regarded as a blessing. 

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