Issued on • Modified
African press review 17 June 2017
South Africa marks 41st Youth Day with calls to swap blood and bullets for ballots and books. Soweto massacre survivors denounce “cheapening of youth day memory”. Kenya's arch political rivals square off in "war of words" about inciting violence ahead of elections.
We begin in South Africa where the papers lead with the commemoration of the June 16 national youth day, marking 41 years of the Soweto Uprising in 1976.
Its a day of remembrance for the 176 students and pupils shot dead by apartheid police in the gruelling towship while protesting the introduction of Afrikaans as the language of education in local schools.
The Johannesburg Star speaks to an activist of the Soweto uprising who denounces the “distasteful manner” in which the day is being celebrated, such as adults going to “shebeens” or taverns in school uniforms.
Seth Mazibuko, a survivor of the massacres and head of the June 16 1976 Foundation says these are not the time for blood and bullets but for ballots and books.
Mail and Guardian reports that the anniversary was marred by another noisy protest against President Jacob Zuma as he presided at an official event in Ventersdorp in the North West. The paper says that a small group of young people chanted “Zuma must go” as he began his address at the Youth Day commemorations.
BusinessDay says that Zuma vowed to shield youth from effects of sluggish economy in the address dominated by education, entrepreneurship and economic emancipation.
And an editorial the Sowetan urges today's youth to create their own legacy and never forget those who came before them.
In Kenya, the papers are keeping their eyes glued on the war of words exchanged by President Uhuru Kenyatta and main opposition leader Raila Odinga as the arch rivals prepare to launch campaign manifestos ahead of the August 8 general Elections.
Standard says Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto accused Odinga of inciting Kenyans to violence as they wound up their two-day campaign tour of the South Rift counties in Bomet Friday.
According to the paper Raila fired back, denying what he called out of the blues accusations by the President that he was asking communities to return to their ancestral lands.
“I have not made such utterances”, Odinga is quoted by the Standard as saying. The paper holds that in turn he also accused Kenyatta of “creating imaginary scenarios and enemies and proceeding to respond to them”.
In Nigeria, Punch warns that a spate of kidnapping in the country is forcing schools to approach insurance companies for protection.
A high profile case, cited by the publication is that of a gang of gunmen which abducted six pupils from a Lagos State college and are demanding a ransom of 2 million euros.
Saturday Punch’s says scores of school proprietors in Lagos and Ogun states have started hiring private security outfits to protect their pupils and staff who have allegedly become soft targets to potential kidnappers.