Take Aways From The Day Of The African Child

By Mukhtar Ajelogbon

On June 16, 1976, nearly ten thousand black students from Soweto, South Africa, marched the streets to protest the poor quality of their education. They marched as a way to demonstrate their disapproval of the Black Education Act, which segregated students based on their race.

Hundreds of innocent students were shot by security forces. And in the 2 weeks of protest that followed, dubbed the Soweto Uprising, more than a hundred students were killed and thousands were badly injured.

Since 1991, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 to commemorate those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa, and to recognize the courage of the students who marched for their right to an education.

The Day of the African Child is also an opportunity to raise awareness for the ongoing need to improve the education of children living across Africa. It’s a need that still very much exists today. Of the 57 million primary school age children currently out of school around the world, over half are from sub-Saharan Africa.

On Education, there are a number of reasons why children can be uneducated. Their parents may not be able to afford school fees, the distance to the nearest school may be too far, or early marriage may keep girls especially from the classroom. These and many more barriers to education have an enormous impact on children, especially girls.

The theme for the Day of the African Child this year 2021 is tagged “30 YEARS AFTER THE ADOPTION OF THE CHARTER: Accelerate The Implementation Of Agenda 2040 For An Africa Fit For Children”. Though, progress has been made since the Soweto Uprising, 1 in 10 children are still missing from the classroom. Much more work needs to be done to ensure all children are receiving a quality education. We know the transformational power education can have on children, and it’s proven that with an education.

There are patriotic Africans involved in liberation struggles in Southern Africa region, such as Samore Machel of Mozambique, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Julius Nyeyere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
However, the last man standing in the patriotic front for liberation, Kenneth Kamuda of Zambia bowed to the cold hands of death on Friday, June 18th, 2021 at aged 97. He would forever be remembered for adding intellectual approach to the liberation struggle with his book tittled “Zambia Shall Be Free.”

Coming down to the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the most populous country in Africa, Children also joined their counterparts across the globe to celebrate this year’s day of the African child with a call on government to give more attention to children with special needs. They want government at all level to deal decisively with persons stepping on the right of children especially in crisis communities.

This commentary is using this opportunity to call for the intervention of the government, stakeholders, parents in Nigeria and Africa not to see the annual day of the African Child as ordinary event but to see it as a clarion call to tackle the challenges facing children in the country, most especially the Northern part of Nigeria, while government at all levels should redouble its effort in protecting the right of children, discourage child abuse but encourage girl child Education.

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