THE new generation must defend and build on the freedom that the class of June 1976 fought for, says Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
Mokonyane was speaking at the launch of the book The Bethal Trial Story - Where do we begin? which will be distributed to all provincial libraries.
The book is an account of the trial which saw several youth activists from the West Rand sentenced to Robben Island for political crimes.
It has been designated by the MEC of sport, arts, culture and recreation Nelisiwe Mbatha-Mtimkulu as part of the Political Heritage Collection.
"Stories that shape our history must be preserved and told so that those who come after us will know what happened," Mokonyane said.
"The sad reality is that many rich experiences and knowledge have been lost or perished before being imparted."
Mokonyane said her generation, and that of the trialists, had used stones to bring about a revolution and that the time for this tactic was over. She said people now had to build on what the struggle had delivered.
"Books such as this are a moment of renewal about who we are, celebrate where we come from and rededicate ourselves as we did before to achieve our freedom."
Present at the launch were trialists Templeton "Pops" Mageza, Lawrence Tlokwa, Michael Matsobane and Rodney Tsholetsane.
A family member of one of the trialists, Molatlhegi Tlhale, said their son was defamed in the book.
Tlhale, who has since died, was never a state witness against his comrades as it is claimed in the book, his sister Ntimang Tlhale said. She also complained that the family was never consulted about the contents of the book.