Teen Spirit Special

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Teen Spirit Special

“A single spark can start a prairie fire.”

~ Chinese Proverb

Back in the 1930s, the South African government had a problem: too many black children were out of school, rendering them unemployable. Their solution? Bantu schools. Here, black children (and only black children) would receive an education in their native language (plus English) to make them useful for the Apartheid regime. They would be taught their place in society (as decided by the ruling party) and become labourers, workers or servants. No more than that. As the architect of the Bantu Education Act of 1953 stated:

“There is no place for (the African) in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. It is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim, absorption in the European community.”

~ H.F. Verwoerd
Architect of Apartheid and the Bantu Education Act of 1953

Besides providing only enough education to become a tool, Bantu schools were miserable little shacks (if they were lucky enough to have walls) of overpopulated rooms taught by poorly educated teachers. Having to spend your youth in such a squalor can sure prime you for upheaval.

The flames of rebellion ignited with the Bantu Education Act of 1953. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. The law demanded that all Bantu schools must now teach primarily and equally in English and Afrikaans. The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) did not like having Afrikaans forced down upon them, so they created the South African Students Organisation (SASO) and started a protest march from Soweto.

The South African government did not care for protests and promptly deployed the police to end the rebellion. The peaceful march quickly escalated into violent clashes, spreading to the rest of the country and lasting weeks. When the dust settled, over 600 students had lost their lives, and the Apartheid regime lost all credibility as a just system.

To commemorate the sacrifice of those students and the event that irreversibly damaged the Apartheid regime, we observe the 16th of June as Youth Day. In addition to commemoration, we use this day to shine a spotlight on the struggles faced by the young.

TNT celebrates this day with their Teen Spirit Special stunt, showcasing films that deal with youthful rebellion and the struggles of youth. Below is a list of movies you can look forward to:

11:30 – Days of the Bagnold Summer (2019)

A heavy-metal lover must try and get along with his run-of-the-mill librarian mom.

13:00 – Bubble Boy (2001)

Leaving his house means death. But in the name of love, he’ll venture outside in a self-constructed bubble suit.

14:45 – Dead Poets Society (1989)

An eccentric English teacher encourages his students to be themselves and take the path less travelled.

16:35 – Dangerous Minds (1995)

A marine veteran turned teacher struggles to earn the respect of the downtown kids in her care.

18:15 – Anthem of a Teenage Prophet (2019)

He foresees his best friend’s death and gets overrun by the media for it.

20:00 – Back to the Future (1985)

A kid stumbles into the past and needs to make his parents fall in love or cease existing entirely.

Wednesdays from 11:30 AM on TNT (ch 186) Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Author: Jan Hendrik Harmse