Today’s date commemorates a day in 1976 when ten thousand school children gathered for a march in Soweto, South Africa, to protest the poor quality of their education and demanding the right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of children were shot and more than a thousand were injured in the protest.
The International Day of the African Child has been celebrated since 1991. It is an important day for campaigning for children’s rights, and for essentials such as health care and education. Moreover, it is a day for African children to celebrate and voice their opinions through drama, poetry, or organized debates. In addition, thousands of football matches for children take place across African countries on this day.
Although every year has its own unique theme, most years so far have highlighted the lack of quality education for children in Africa. The gap between legislation and practice is enormous. All African countries recognize the United Nations declaration of Human Rights and agree that all children are entitled to good, basic education. According to the Right to Education project, however, there are 75 million children in the world who do not have access to basic education, and 150 million children currently enrolled will drop out before completing primary education and least two-thirds of them are girls. Out of the 75 million children approximately 40 million are in Africa.
Watch this video about how Mozambique celebrated International Day for the African Child two years ago.