The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon, and I could feel the tension in the air as I lined up with my classmates at the start of the march. Hundreds of students had convened that morning to participate in the June 16 commemoration of those fallen to Apartheid in South Africa. For the past hundred years, our people have been oppressed, degraded, and segregated, striving for just basic human rights. The past centuries of exploitation had robbed many of us from a chance at a decent life, and it was time to fight for it.
We all stood in silence, watching the first rays of sunlight spread over the landscape. I remember feeling a sudden wave of emotion wash over me as I looked around and saw my classmates, united in our mission to stand together in solidarity and make our voices heard. We were walking together, not just for ourselves and the generations that preceded us, but for those still living under the shackles of oppression and discrimination.
Our march was powerful and unified. We chanted and sang, our voices rising above the sounds of the city. Our walk was both solemn and joyous; we honored the past, and thought of the future with hope and anticipation.
The march eventually led us to the steps of the Union Buildings, where we understood the symbolic importance of the building. Not only had they stood as a symbol of apartheid, but also as a reminder of a system that had held our people back for centuries.
As I marched that day, it brought with it a sense of pride and strength. We were taking a stand against a government that had long forgotten about its citizens, and I felt like, for the first time, my voice was being heard.
June 16 was not only a day for remembrance, but for courage and strength too. That day, I experienced a sense of empowerment, a sense of autonomy, and a faith in the power of our collective struggle to make meaningful, lasting change that would benefit us all.
I will never forget that day. It was only the start, but a reminder of what unity, resilience, and hope can do even in the face of a hundred years of suffering and oppression.