Every year on 16 June, the African Union and its Member States observe the Day of the African Child (DAC) as a commemoration of the 16th June, 1976 when students were murdered for protesting against apartheid-inspired education. We celebrate the children of Africa and renew commitment and action towards addressing the numerous challenges they face not only in Africa but globally. This year’s DAC 2020 theme reflects on ‘Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa’ 

It’s 2020 and once again the education of the African child is threatened not only by human conflict but by a war that threatens humanity itself. The COVID 19 pandemic has changed our lives more than we ever imagined. In many parts of the world, education is risky. At the best of times education in Africa can be challenging and easily interrupted by a number of unexpected and random things.Although COVID 19 cases on the continent are relatively low, inadequate healthcare and difficult economic conditions make it difficult. Schools have been closed for a while and there’s still uncertainty about whether it’s the right time to reopen them.

In addition to that, the Black Lives Matter protests across the world have also affected our children in the diaspora.We are forced to think about their education as well as their safety and identities beyond the continent.

How do we best prepare them for a world in which they will encounter racism, inequality and prejudices because of their skin colour? How do they adapt and thrive in a world that is hostile to them because they are black? Addressing racism has to go beyond protests. We have to educate our children about our history, culture our struggles with racism.

We must focus on strengthening communities and address the problems within them. We must empower ourselves and generate wealth.Most of all we have to instill pride of the Motherland.Let’s revisit curriculums. Do our children know Mansa Musa was the wealthiest man in the world? That Mali kingdom was a great West African Empire and had the oldest university in the world dating 13BC was in Timbuktu.

So, what do we mean by child friendly justice system in Africa and how are we going to get it? I’m hoping we intend to address violent crime in our communities and get serious about tackling youth unemployment. We need better rehabilitation programs for delinquents. And create opportunities for young people. They need hope. Surely our children deserve better than to be manipulated by politicians to create chaos. Africa needs to take an holistic approach to solving our worldwide problems and do better. A significant number of our talent don’t live on the continent and are developing their host nations instead. Let’s do more than protest let’s show that we believe African lives really matter.

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Author: Khadijatu Mansaray

Entrepreneur, Publisher, Activist.Born and raised in Sierra Leone.Formerly an accountant is passionate about Africa, Literature and social justice.

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