June is a Month of (black) Joy
I was going to write a thought piece on what happend in South Africa 46 years ago. A post that would have shared how a brave group of black (mostly) high school students in South Africa took to the streets to protest against the compulsory introduction of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in high schools during the mid 1970. And how they were met with brutal force from police who, without any form of warning, fired into the crowd of students and fatally wounded an estimated 700 students. But then an article from Black Youth Project called Black Joy is Movement Work, reminded me that Black liberation movements are not only about pain, anger, violence and death.
Yes, those elements are there and they are a fundemental part of our history, but that's not the only thing that should define who we are as a people and how far we've come. However, we still need to find joy and live for it, especially in between the spaces of the painful moments and memories, so as not too allow the grief to engulf us. We shouldn't let a painful history be our (main) story. We have so much more to share and offer. And that's why I'm choosing to remember the month of June as a month of celebration for all those that have fought to get an education, knowing that a few decades ago, that wouldn't have been possible. The recognition of this act is also a way to honour the courage and sacrifice of the Soweto Uprising Youth by being the dream they fought for.I will honour their fight for better education by continuing to thrive and grow, and using the knowledge that once was unattainable because of the hue of my skin. I will create spaces where I will use what I've learned to remind others why the simple act of going to school is revolutionary, and brings so many of our elders to tears when they see their loved ones walk across the graduation stage. I will do all this knowing that there is joy outside of our history lessons, and that the lessons are not there to open wounds but rather are a testament to to the resiliency of our people.
I salute to the Class of '74. Thank you for being our voices and opening doors to places where we are fully taking up space!