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Media Advisory: The South African Human Rights Commission commemorates National Youth Day

Attention: Editors and Reporters

16 June 2024

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC/Commission) joins the rest of the country to commemorate National Youth Day 2024 and calls for more efforts to address challenges the youth face.

This day is observed annually on June 16 to commemorate the bravery and resilience of the youth in pursuit of justice and equality. It holds deep significance in South Africa's history as it marks the Soweto Uprising of 1976, where many young people lost their lives protesting against the compulsory teaching of Afrikaans in black township schools by the Apartheid regime.

This year marks the 48th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 and is commemorated under the theme “Actively embracing the socioeconomic gains of our democracy.” While it is imperative to embrace the socioeconomic gains of our democracy, it is key not to lose sight of the many challenges affecting the youth.

Today’s youth face different human rights challenges from the heroes of 1976. Inequality, unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, bullying, discrimination, and violence are a daily lived reality to the youth. Statistics on youth unemployment paint a grim picture. For instance, the country is grappling with a 45,5% unemployment rate among young individuals (aged 15-34 years), in contrast to the national average of 32,9% in the first quarter of 2024. Bullying in schools is also a concern, more than 3.2 million learners are bullied yearly in South Africa. More than 67% of bullying victims will not ask a teacher for help because they do not think it will change their situation.

In line with its constitutional mandate to protect human rights, the Commission has dedicated the month of June to embark on various interventions aimed at educating and empowering the youth about their human rights and how to assert them when they are violated or threatened.

Youth Day activities:

  • 13 June: Commissioner Tshepo Madlingozi facilitated a seminar at Tshisimani, Centre for Activist Education’s Short Course for Community-Based Paralegals and Fieldworkers.
  • 14 June: Gauteng Provincial Office hosted a virtual Youth Day dialogue, “Lawyers under 35 Talk” that spoke to the experiences of young, diverse legal professionals working in different industries in the legal sector.
  • 16 June: Chairperson Chris Nissen delivered a Keynote address at Moravian Church on the memory of the youth struggle leaders at 10:00 and at13:00, he will deliver ⁠Keynote address in Elsie’s River on the memory of the youth struggle leaders.
  • 17 June: Commissioner Nomahlubi Khwinana will participate in a dialogue hosted by the Commission’s Children’s Rights Unit aimed at empowering the youth and children by addressing the prevalent issues affecting them. Olivenhoutbosch, 09:00 – 11:00.


For further information or inquiries, please contact Wisani Baloyi on 081 016 8308 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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