The 16th of June is an important date on South Africa’s calendar. So much so that it is an official holiday that has been titled “Youth Day.”

But, what is “Youth Day” in South Africa all about?

The short version of it is that students across South Africa were gatvol with new Bantu Education regulations that required them to learn Afrikaans. Not only learn Afrikaans, but in some cases be taught in Afrikaans too. In response, the students organized country-wide protests that primarily focused on Afrikaans being abolished in schools. These protests were most intense in Soweto and as a result, the Apartheid government’s police focused their efforts on Soweto.

📷 Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying a fatally shot Hector Pieterson during the 16 June 1976 Soweto youth student uprising.

The police didn’t spare any of their force as they unleashed sjamboks and bullets on the peacefully protesting and unarmed students. This led to one of the iconic photos from the protests of a crying Mbuyisa Makhubu carrying a young Hector Pietersen who was fatally shot by the police.

Beyond protesting against the regulations of the Apartheid government, the “Youth Day” protests were about fighting a culture trying to impose itself on them and dominate them. In this instance, it was about imposing Afrikaans on the students.

This brings me to the topic of today’s Daily Brief newsletter on a Dominant Culture and how it affects society.

📷 Students in Soweto protesting against the use and teaching of Afrikaans in schools during the 6 June 1976 Soweto youth student uprising.

Without a doubt, most countries (not all) are dominated to a certain extent by one form of Western culture or another. Whether it be in the way we speak, dress, but most evidently it is in the way we do things.

This, the influence and dominance of Western culture in our zeitgeist, cuts across everything in our society.

The concern I have with this is that it robs us as a society from the benefits of having diverse cultures influencing all manner of things such as design, financial systems (is debt and interest-bearing financial system the most useful for us?), housing, cuisine, and more. Who knows, the solutions to some of the world’s pressing problems could be hidden in how a specific culture does certain things, but because such a culture is oppressed, we will hardly ever find out.

📷 Police assaulting and dragging one of the student protestors on 16 June 1976.

For example, as I continue to research and read about the birth of the Basotho nation I have come to learn that Morena Moshoeshoe had a financial system he called “Mafisa” which he learned from his advisor, Morena Mohlomi. In summary, Mafisa involved Moshoeshoe loaning his cattle to members of his society so they can birth calves for them and use their milk. The only repayment he required was that after a certain period, the original amount of cows he loaned out be returned, nothing else. To me that sounds like a solution to small business loans across the continent, interest-free loans to small businesses to help them get started.

There are many more examples like this across different cultures in Africa, the problem is given the dominance of Western culture, and how violently (figuratively speaking) it dominates other cultures, we will never know.

Top Stories

✊🏿 It goes without saying that the June 16 1976 Uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. As it is well documented, events that triggered the uprising can be traced back to policies of the Apartheid government that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953, which also made it compulsory that students be taught in and learn Afrikaans. The aftermath of the events of June 16 1976 had dire consequences for the Apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led to an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed. Link

🎼 YouTube has announced that grant applications for the Class of 2022 of its #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will open on 21 June 2021. Furthermore, eligibility has been expanded to include songwriters and producers, allowing Black artists residing in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada, and the UK, in addition to the U.S., Brazil, and Australia, to apply. According to YouTube, the fund is aimed at deepening investments in Black communities. Added to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, to celebrate Black culture, YouTube Music has activated #YouTubeMusic Moments - a collection of content whose primary goal is to celebrate Black culture, identity, and experiences from the perspective of Black artists. Link

💻 South Africa’s Discovery Bank has entered into a partnership with a fintech startup, Cumulate, to offer online financial literacy courses. The platform, known as Worth,  offers online courses that teach individuals how to regain control and manage their money more effectively. As with Discovery Vitality, members who can go to the gym for a reduced rate and also earn fitness points, Discovery Bank clients with Vitality Money will be able to access Worth online courses - Wealthy Me™ or Wealthy Couples™ - at a heavily discounted rate (Discovery Bank clients pay R399 and non-Discovery Bank clients pay R4,999), whilst simultaneously improving their financial fitness. Link

🏫 Liquid Intelligent Technologies has opened the first Innovation and Digital Skills Centre (IDSC) in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The technology company has launched the IDSC in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and the Eastern Cape Provincial Government. According to Liquid, communities close to the centers will be exposed to local learning and business opportunities. It is also hoped that the IDSC will serve as a technology hub where learners and entrepreneurs can equip themselves with the latest and most relevant digital skills. Link

⚖️ This is interesting - Toptal — a marketplace for filling engineering and other tech roles with freelance, remote workers — has filed a lawsuit against direct competitor Andela and several of its employees, alleging the theft of trade secrets in pursuit of “a perfect clone of its business”, according to the complaint. All of the Andela employees previously worked at Toptal. The main argument seems to be that the ex-Toptal employees broke their NDAs and proceeded to use trade secrets from Toptal for Andela. The lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Link

Thought of the Day

Western culture dominates most things we do across society including digital technology. With this has come problems across the world which could be avoided if other cultures and how they do things were considered. (Tweet this | Share on WhatsApp)

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