Tsholofelo Sefako from South Africa, who wears a traditional African dress and headwear with seashells, leads the singing of the South African national anthem, with her compatriots and friends from other countries, either singing along with her or taking photos and videos at Cactus Smokehouse in Sea World on Saturday night. Yang Mei
With the smell of sizzling Braai (South African barbecue), beers and drinks, live music and joyous Jerusalem dance, the Cactus Smokehouse in Sea World in Nanshan District was transformed into a hub of exultant celebration as people of different nationalities and skin colors gathered at a full-house party hosted by South Africans Tyrone Naik and his wife Tammy Naik to mark the South African Youth Day which fell on Thursday.
This year marks the 46th anniversary of the June 16 Soweto Youth Uprising, when young people protested against the imposition of Afrikaans by the apartheid regime as a medium of instruction. The holiday has celebrations that are held country-wide to empower all South Africans and to remember those who lost their lives.
The party began with a passionate singing of the South African national anthem, which was followed by a welcome and opening speech delivered by Tyrone. In his speech, Tyrone gave a brief introduction about the Youth Day and a background why he decided to hold the event. “Ladies and gentlemen, today we are here to celebrate togetherness, coming together and sitting with brothers and sisters of different skin colors. The celebration of togetherness is irrespective of your race, color, sex and religion because we are the one and only rainbow nation in the world,” Tyrone said proudly.
The Naiks told Shenzhen Daily that the party was organized to let people of all nationalities experience first-hand South African tradition and cultures, but more importantly, to make homesick expats feel at home. “Due to the pandemic, many of the foreign residents have been away from their home countries for the last three years, so we thought we could just bring home to them,” Tammy said.
“It’s an opportunity to transfer our knowledge of our culture to the rest of the world, and behind it all, it’s all about loving, sharing and caring,” Tyrone added.
With that idea in mind, the couple specially prepared something from home — braai, which is the South Africa’s equivalent of barbeque. A braai is an integral part of South African culture, and a common practice in any South African household. “Braai” is an Afrikaans word deriving from the Dutch word for “roast,” and is usually an occasion for friends and family to come together in celebration.
Wearing a South African national flag T-shirt, Liezl Boyd told Shenzhen Daily that she had a feeling of being home and unity when enjoying braai together with her fellow countrymen. “The braai reminds me so much of being home because we made braai at home in celebrations with family and friends. It’s a symbol of love and togetherness,” Boyd said, adding that “being around with so many South Africans gives us a sense of being home especially because so many of us are not able to go back to our home for such a long time. Even though we didn’t meet each other before, it’s like we’ve known each other for a long time.”
Boyd also recognized the long-lasting impact of the 1976 incident on young people today for them to become global citizens who can make a difference in the world. “It’s important for young people, not only for South Africans but also for all people around the world, to know the value of those young students who fought for what they believed in. So, today’s young people should keep going and move forward, and their voices will make a difference.”
Boyd’s compatriot Amourelle Isaacs, who was born in the 1990s, said that the fact that the party was open to people of all nationalities showed South Africa’s diverse culture. Growing up in Cape Town in a multilingual environment both at school and at home, Isaacs said she is very respectful to and grateful for the youths who sacrificed their lives to fight for equal rights.
“It (Soweto Uprising) gives us an opportunity to be able to have different languages at school and to have freedom. We know the value of the Youth Day because our school was open and diverse,” Isaacs said. “The Youth Day also reminds us to take advantage of what we have. It’s a great opportunity to come to China to thrive as well and share our cultures with Chinese people.”
Lisa Roeck from the U.S. said that although it was her first time to learn about South African history and culture, particularly its Youth Day, it was a great chance to discover a different side of humanity and feel the unity of the South African community in Shenzhen.