June 16 Day of the African Child
Day of the African Child is celebrated on 16 June every year to commemorate the 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa. It has been commemorated since 1991; as an initiative by the then OAU now AU.
20,000 South African students in the township of Soweto took to the streets to fight an apartheid – inspired education system, demanding to be taught in their own language. Armed law enforcement agents of the apartheid responded by murdering hundreds of protesters. Now a public holiday in South Africa, referred to as Youth Day, it’s also recognized as International Day of the African Child throughout the world.
This year’s theme is ‘Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa’. This DAC calls us to reflect on our commitments, search for justice and for a better Africa. We are compelled as a generation to remember the resolute spirits of the 1976 comrades who said enough is enough and they expressed their grievances by confronting the apartheid system in South Africa. As young Africans of this day we need to do a serious introspection.
We have challenges we need to confront; issues unemployment and lack of economic opportunities; we still have issues with child marriages; abuse of young women, boys and girls. Conflicts and war. We still have oppressive systems that limit young people from exercising their democratic rights. we still suffer in the hands of racial, tribalism and xenophobic systems. As a generation we need to take these matters into our own hands and demand an end to child marriages, abuses, demand a fair share of the economic cake; demand justice in our countries. We need to continue fighting against systematic racism and hate amongst ourselves. We need to ensure safe spaces and peace zones are created for young people and children. We need to ensure guns are silent on our continent. Young people need to define the agenda, for us and for future generations.
In remembrance to the 1976 comrades, As AACC we dedicate our campaign for African Patriotism; AFRICA My Home My Future to them. the campaign aims to mobilize the youth in Africa to confront the challenges in the continent; in a bid to contribute to the transformation for a better Africa. It is a campaign to empower young people to be patriotic to the continent; showcasing the talents, skills and opportunities for young people on the continent. Join us on our journey to define the Africa we want; and the future we want. In this journey we will work together as young people to define and provide solutions to our challenges. Africa is Our Home is Our Future.
Lastly I say to you all, let us love each other as Africans, brothers and sisters; let us not call each other names; we need each other in our struggle. We must remain united and confront the challenges we face. African child you can do it.
Thank you all for listening; and remember Africa is our home our future. Obrigado, Merci beaucoup; Asanteni Sana, Siyabonga; Maita basa.
Happy Day of the Africa Child.