June 16th has been earmarked as the International Day for the African Child, a day set aside to raise awareness on the need to continue and sustain the education of the African child. The celebration of the African child has been held since 1991 upon its initiation by the Organization of African Unity (OAU was disbanded on 9 July, 2002 by its last chairperson, then South African President Thabo Mbeki, and replaced by the African Union, AU).
The International Day for the African Child is primarily to celebrate those that participated in the June 16 Soweto Uprising of 1976 and also to sustain awareness of the continuing need for improvement of the education provided to African children.
It is on record that on June 16, 1976, in Soweto, South Africa, roughly 10,000 black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long in protest of the poor quality education they were receiving and also demanded that they be taught in their own language. Hundreds of those young black students were shot for their their action. More than one hundred reportedly died while a thousand more were injured.
Now decades after the gory Soweto incident and self governance across Africa, how have we fared as a people to take care of our children. There is not denying the fact that neglect and abuses of all forms have remained the bane of a huge number of African children till date.
However, as we celebrate the African child in a continent fraught with numerous challenges today, let us heed the pronouncements of the World Health Organization by yielding our “spirit of abundance to share something special with a child in Africa.”