June 16 marks the day of celebration for the African Child. It honours the Soweto uprising that took place in South Africa in 1976, where thousands of Black school children took a stand to protest against the poor standards of education they were receiving. The students mission was to gain the right to a racism free education during the Apartheid era---this, sadly, resulted in the loss of many innocent lives. However, it also led to contributing to reform and liberation.
This day raises awareness to the continuing need for importance in the education provided to African Children. They HAVE the right to education, as well as many other basic needs such as food, shelter, security, and good health. In many parts of Africa, AIDS orphans are left on the street because no one in the family can look after them, young boys are forced into crime to get money for food—being deprived of that basic right to nourishment.
What does it feel like being an African Child? We can only imagine! Being born into poverty, which is reality for many, reduces chances of survival, good health, and education. Again, it continually puts these kids at risk for abuse, exploitation, and violence, and they know it! Yet on Friday, the kids in our schools, and all over Africa, will commemorate it with song and dance, with poems and speeches, with pride and dedication to making a better world for themselves. Today we have the opportunity to move a step closer to giving children the true humanity they deserve. Remember that the Child means the family, the child means the future, the child means the community! It is the child that holds tomorrow!