To celebrate the children of Africa, this year the African Union has declared the 2020 theme for the Day of the African Child to be –
“Access to child –friendly justice in Africa.”
When one starts to think of “child-friendly justice in Africa” we cannot help but remember the first few students who pioneered the way forward for an unbiased educational system in South Africa during a time where segregation and social injustice was rampant throughout the country.
Nearly 44 years ago, a group of approximately ten thousand young high-spirited children took to the streets of Soweto in an open protest against the substandard education they were receiving. Demanding to be taught in their own language and for the reconstruction of their educational system that was unjustly prejudiced towards black people.
These demonstrations, later on, became known as the Soweto Uprisings and in 1991 the administrative body of The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) instituted the Day of the African Child on June the 16th in commemoration of the innocent lives that were lost during the Soweto uprisings and on this day we celebrate the African children, who despite all the challenges and countless tribulations, risked their lives to protest for fair treatment.
Today the fight against the pandemic has subsequently exposed an overwhelmingly large number of African children to maltreatment such as abuse and early child marriages whilst depriving them of the basic necessities. Too many children are starving both from food and education. Now more than ever the African Child is in desperate need of help.
In the wise words of Nelson Mandela“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation” This is our time to continue advocating for our children to have the education and lifestyle they deserve so how can we make a difference?