South African youth take over News24

South Africa’s biggest news website is commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising by inviting school children to help edit News24 for the day.

“Forty years ago, hundreds of Soweto students lost their lives at the hands of apartheid police for protesting against the forced introduction of Afrikaans as a language of tuition at all schools,” says Adriaan Basson, Editor of News24.  “We wanted to acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice by taking an honest look at what the struggles of today’s youth are.  And the best way to do that is through the eyes of South Africa’s school children.”

News24 has asked sixteen scholars from high schools in Gauteng, the Western and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State to write essays on what their generation’s biggest struggles are. The platform will publish these prominently on their website, alongside short video interviews with the learners that visit our newsrooms.

“June 16, 1976, changed the course of South Africa’s history and we wanted to honour that by doing something different this year,” added Basson.

“Thousands of brave children, led by Tsietsi Mashinini, stood up against the oppressive apartheid regime and demanded quality education. They paid a bitterly high price.

Today we are seeing protests of a different kind on university campuses. The youth of 2016 are protesting against high tuition fees and untransformed academic spaces. Unemployment is high and technology is disrupting legacy industries.

We want to hear the voices of this generation and that’s why we’re inviting them into our newsrooms,” says Basson.

The young editors will also get the opportunity to attend News24’s news conferences and give input into editorial decisions during Youth Week.

“We specifically asked the Soweto schools that were central to the 1976 protests – Morris Isaacson High School, Naledi High School and Orlando West High School – to nominate pupils to participate in the project. At least half of the participants will be from schools in Soweto,” said Basson.

Visit the News24 website on Youth Day to read their articles and follow the live coverage on Twitter @News24 with the hashtag #Soweto40.

For more information contact Adriaan Basson.