South Africa: SA to Mark 40th Anniversary of June 16

South Africa is gearing up to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the June 16 youth uprising.

The entire month of June is celebrated as Youth Month, paying tribute to the school pupils and ordinary citizens who lost their lives during the 16 June 1976 uprisings, in Soweto.

This year will mark the 40th anniversary of that fateful day, which profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa.

"This will see a month-long programme, coordinated by the National Youth Development Agency, dedicated to enabling and encouraging our youth to more easily take up opportunities across various sectors, so as to better their lives and enable them to effectively contribute to the development of the economy and the country," Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said on Thursday, when briefing media on matters that were discussed in their fortnightly Cabinet meeting.

The commemoration is being overseen by an Inter-Ministerial Committee.

The month-long campaign will be launched next Wednesday, under the theme 'Youth Taking South Africa Forward' at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Soweto. This will be a build-up to the National Youth Day proceedings on 16 June 2016, which will be officiated by President Jacob Zuma at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Child Protection Wek

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Development will launch National Child Protection Week in Braakspruit Farm, Klerksdorp, on Sunday.

National Child Protection Week is commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children, as articulated in the Children's Act of 2005.

This year, the week will be observed under the theme 'Let Us All Protect Children to Move South Africa Forward'.

The week will coincide with an International Children's Day event on 1 June, which will be led by President Jacob Zuma at an orphanage and youth centre in Atteridgeville, Pretoria.

The week will conclude on 5 June in Amersfoort, Mpumalanga.

"Cabinet urges communities to protect children against neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation by reporting all such incidences to the authorities," said Minister Radebe.

World Environment Day

On other events to be hosted by government, Minister Radebe revealed that the Department of Environment Affairs will lead the country in marking World Environment Day on 5 June.

The day will mobilise South Africans to take positive environmental action to protect the planet.

This year's World Environment Day theme, 'Go Wild for Life', focuses on wildlife crime and the damage it causes.

Minister Radebe said South Africa's success in the conservation of our biodiversity has made the country a prime target for organised, transnational environmental and wildlife crime.

He said the impact of environmental and wildlife crime is devastating on ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods and tourism.