The kinds of pictures we mostly see whenever and wherever there is a discussion on the African child are those that gives negative impressions. The raison d’être for this is due to the fact that when the African child is discussed; the point of concentration is the poverty of Africa and the hunger of the African child, the rate of diseases affecting her and other of her challenges.
Though this is not far from the truth given different statistics which connotes high rate of poverty cum hunger, high rate of the African child out of school, child labour and other challenges that have betide the continent in years which in rebound has created a chasm which places little or no interest in the continent stroke of luck. There is a call therefore for the discussion of the other side of the African child which surpasses its challenges and reveals its strength and fortunes.
The African child is beautiful, the African child is intelligent, the African child is full of energy, the African child is filled with ambition, the African child has great vision, the African child possess the will for positive change and development. Beyond every image of the African child you see lays treasuries of potentials awaiting their right time to be divulge into limelight. The emergence of this potential is much determined by how the society is ready to explore them through the creation of structures and enabling environment.
The African child is not inferior to any child from other continents of the world; on the contrary, the African child is blessed given the natural resources, climate condition, cultural diversity and the unique heritage of Africans. However, it is not far-fetched that Africa is sunken in copious poverty, which has kept most of its children hungry, Africa is also faced with different kind of diseases and challenges which includes poliomyelitis, high rate of infant mortality among others.
In spite of all these challenges facing the Africa continent which invariably and undoubtedly affects the African child in a larger magnitude, the African child has shown resilience, courage, determination, diligence and the blood of “don’t quit” which flows in the veins of Africans. All this has given space to those pace that the African child has later come to attain. Testimonies of this are the height and influence of these African child turned African man- Nelson Mandela, Wole Soyinka, kofi Anan and the host of others.
In reflects to this, it is clear that if the African child is given a more viable enabling environment, the rate of her influence shall be inestimable, evolving into inventions of technology, eradication of poverty and economic development.
In other to walk this part, it is therefore of pertinence to remind all Africans both home and in the diaspora, African leaders and other stake holders not to fail to recall the rationale that beckon the event(Soweto uprising) that initiated the celebration of the African child’s day.
Quality education was their major cry; therefore quality education; a mechanism of change and eradication of poverty should be of priority and made available to all. The UNESCO recommendation of at least 26 percent of the budget to education should be adopted by African leaders. Policies should be questioned and amendment should be made where needs arises to conform to the welfare of the African child. The art of advocating all children to be in school and the policy of expelling them soon enough for reasons such as low academic performance should therefore be stopped and structures to keep them in the system of education be created.
The rights of the African child as contained in the convention on the rights of the child (CRC) and the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child should be seen as supreme and all laws to this effect should be given utmost priorities as other laws of the land.
The model of the African child who have laid their feet as mark to the world is an evidence that the African child possess the potential and will to make the world a better place and clearing the path by creating this enabling environment will make the future of the African child brighter than ever which in reciprocal will create a brighter Africa and positively impact the world at large. I believe in Africa, I believe in the African child.
Happy African child’s day
Long live Africa.
NB: this post was first published in 2015