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Commemorating the student uprising of 16 June 1976, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo and the Gauteng Department of Arts and Culture will plant fruit and nut trees in Soweto, symbolising their commitment to addressing problems affecting the youth.

TO commemorate the 38th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 student uprising, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo and the Gauteng Department of Arts, Culture and Sports will, as part of activities on the day, plant some 23 fruit and pecan nut trees in Soweto.

The trees will be planted in the Garden of Hope near the Hector Pieterson Youth Memorial and the theme for the day is: Youth celebrating 20 years of Freedom and Democracy – Together contributing towards a unified and prosperous South Africa.

The 1976 student uprisings were a turning point in South Africa's history; on the day, black school pupils peacefully protested the apartheid government's decision to enforce teaching school subjects in Afrikaans. The protest, and the subsequent violent state response – attacking unarmed children, focussed world attention on the plight of black South Africans. Today, the day is commemorated as Youth Day.

Youth Day activities

The tree planting ceremony will be led by Gauteng Premier David Makhura; Gauteng Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Molebatsi Bopape; City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau; and representatives from the June 16 youth Foundation.

Joburg City Parks and Zoo customer relations general manager, Unathi Mguye, said the trees planted on 16 June would symbolise the city's commitment to dealing with issues affecting the youth.

"The trees will commemorate our history and remember the school children who died during the 1976 uprising," she added.

Events planned for the day include laying a wreath at the Hector Pieterson Memorial and unveiling the June 16 Memorial at Morris Isaacson School.

The day events will round off with the launch of free Wi-Fi connections at Morris Isaacson and Phefeni Junior Secondary schools.