TODAY Zimbabwe, Africa and the world commemorates the Day of the African Child.
The buzz is in the air as the continent looks at the concerns of the African child with this day in mind.
Unfortunately, the needs, concerns and interests of the child cannot be deliberated and dealt with in this one day called The Day of the African Child.
We, as a continent, need to go back to the reasons behind the commemoration of The Day of the African Child every year on June 16 by Member States of the African Union.
There is need to recall the 1976 uprisings in Soweto, when a protest by school children in South Africa against apartheid-inspired education resulted in the cruel repression of these unarmed young protesters by police officials.
There is need to spell out the fact that The Day of the African Child represents an opportunity to end the suffering, injustices and all such sad realities being faced by the African child.
Today, decades after the incident that led to the formation of The Day of the African Child, how many African children can safely say they are happy?
How many African children have access to education, health services, food, shelter . . . all their basic necessities?
How many African children are enjoying all their rights as human beings?
The answers to the above questions are sad and worrying.
It is sad to note that, of the 61 million primary school age children that are out of school in the world, 50 percent are in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.
That is a scary and worrying number for us as Africans and it is clear proof that we are not doing anything to address some of the most basic of African children’s concerns and rights – like the right to education.
That parents of children living with disabilities are hiding their children from the public and – in Zimbabwe for example – 29 percent of children living with disabilities do not attend school, should be everyone’s concern.
We should look over the wall and see what our neighbours’ children keep crying over. Every adult should take it as their responsibility to “Eliminate Harmful Social and Cultural Practices affecting Children” around us and the government and law enforcement agents should step in and ensure that children are always taken care of.
Every child, no matter their background, orphan or living with a disability, must have access to education and opportunities for their growth.
That is still lacking in Africa as a continent and the Day of The African Child should ensure that such opportunities are constantly developed for our children.
The day is important but it should be used more as an opportunity to inculcate valuable habits that protect the fundamental rights of the African child.