INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD
On June 16th, International Day of the African Child commemorates those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. The day also raises awareness of the ongoing need to improve education for children in Africa.
The Soweto Uprising began on June 16, 1976. Thousands of black schoolchildren in South Africa led this series of protests and demonstrations. The students were protesting against issues related to government-sanctioned apartheid within the student community.
On their way to Orlando Stadium in Soweto, heavily armed police met the students. The police fired tear gas and live ammunition at the students. The result was a revolt directed against the South African government. The revolt spread throughout the country and continued for several months. It is believed that more than 170 people died during the Soweto Uprising. One of the youngest victims was just 12-years-old. The UN Security Council strongly condemned the incident and the apartheid government.
Twenty years after the uprising, the South African Schools Act was passed. This law put an end to mandatory segregation in South African schools. The law also made primary education compulsory for all children starting at the age of 7. Despite this fact, many children in South Africa and other parts of the continent do not get a quality education. Girls especially face many barriers to getting any education at all. Many children in Africa drop out of school before their 10th birthday. Other children throughout the continent do not have enough food or adequate shelter.
HOW TO OBSERVE #DayOfTheAfricanChild
On this day, governments, NGOs, educators, and international organizations discuss the challenges children in Africa face. Events also discuss the importance of educational opportunities for these children. Here are some ways you can participate:
- Donate to an organization that helps provide education to children in Africa.
- Watch the documentary Uprize or the movie Sarafina! Both center around the Soweto Uprising.
- Learn about the history of South Africa and the effect of apartheid on the country.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #DayOfTheAfricanChild
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD HISTORY
The Organization of African Unity (OAU) initiated the first International Day of the African Child in 1991. The date of June 16th commemorates the beginning of the Soweto Uprising in 1976.