Defilement, murder of three-year-old girl, by her mother’s lover in Kabisoge village in Bomet. The shooting of a 13-year-old boy by police enforcing the curfew in the prevention of COVID-19. News headlines we should never see if everyone is committed to the ideals of the Day of the African Child.
This day addresses different issues affecting children in the society, and this year’s theme is “Access to Child-Friendly Justice in Africa”. Apart from the injustices committed against children, there are also children detained in juvenile corrective facilities.
An example is the Romeo and Juliet laws which involve sex between two minors. Mostly, the older minor bears the burden of guilt. I witnessed such stories during our visit to Kamiti Juvenile boys’ facility in 2019. I remember a 16-year-old boy who had spent six months in custody for the crime of defiling a 13-year-old girl, while he swore his innocence. Such are the cases that call for child-friendly justice in Africa.
History of the Day of the African Child
Commemoration of The Day of The African Child has been each year since June 16th, 1991. It was initiated by The Organization of African Unity, honouring the children who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. About 10,000 black school children marched in a column more than a half a mile long in Soweto township of South Africa protesting against their poor quality of education, leading to the shooting of hundreds during those protests.
Day of the African child is vital to Mwanadada because we highlight issues of Teenage Sexuality and encourage parents to initiate the conversations surrounding sexuality with their children at an appropriate age. Some aims of our approach are to ensure the protection of children against sexual abuse, raise awareness of the consequences to unsafe actions and that children grow up in an emotionally safe environment.
Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. Let us join hands to realize child welfare goals as parents, educators, and community, as espoused in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.