WINDHOEK – In commemoration of the Day of the African Child, Youth Corner spoke to children on what the day means and how they celebrated it.
The Day of the African Child is a day to honour and pay tribute to students who were killed in 1976 in Soweto, South Africa, for protesting against injustice and inequality under the apartheid regime.
This year’s Day of the African Child was celebrated at the After-School Centre in Grysblock with the theme Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First.
Magano Shilongo, a nine-year-old learner of Suiderhof Primary School said she is ‘blessed’ to be an African child because her rights are respected. She advised her peers to have pride and dignity in themselves.
“This day is important because we have rights and responsibilities as children and the African continent is free,” said 10-year old Pearl Basson of Suiderhof Primary School.
Devin Samuels, another 10-year-old learner also at Suiderhof Primary School said the Day of the African Child means children are reliable and people look up to them as the future generations.
Youth Corner also went on the streets of Windhoek to talk to homeless children on what they had to say about the Day of the African Child.
Fanuel !Naruseb, a 12 year- old homeless boy who found shelter near the Owela museum said he does not know what the day means and as a child, he was abandoned by his parents which led him to go on the streets.
He said he wishes he could go back to school like other children but there is no one to take care of him.
“The streets of Windhoek have become my home and there are times when I feel bad seeing other children going to school or being hugged by their parents. I go to bed on an empty stomach, hoping the next day I will find good Samaritans to feed me,” !Naruseb said, stretching his badly cracked feet.
“Why are people interested in our lifestyle as homeless children when they do nothing about it? Are we only children when it’s the Day of the African Child but not on other days?” an irate homeless boy said before walking away.
Meanwhile, the Principal of Suiderhof Primary School, Pete Huisamen commented: “The Day of the African Child is one of the special days we celebrate at our school and this year, we had some programmes where one of our teachers gave a background talk on how the day is important to all African children.”
Huisamen said the day was observed on Monday at the school. “We sang songs related to the day and we told children what their responsibilities are in society.
Children are mostly neglected, that is why we have a lot of children on the streets and they end up getting exposed to violence. At our school, we have children that are well taken of and we also make sure our children don’t feel left out that is why we give sandwiches to children that do not come with food at school, so they don’t starve,” the school principal explained.