June 16 is the Day of the African Child: What is it and why does it matter?
Updated: Jul 6, 2021
June 16 is International Day of the African Child. The BRAVE Foundation celebrates this special day with the rest of the international community.
The Day of the African Child has been celebrated since 1991 and seeks to raise awareness of the need to improve social and educational outcomes for African children, and is a cause The BRAVE Foundation is deeply committed to.
But why this day, June 16? Well, 45 years ago to the day - in 1976 - the Soweto Uprising shined a dramatic and bloody spotlight on injustice's facing the African child. On that morning, over 10,000 children and youth walked from their homes and into the streets of Soweto, South Africa for what began as a peaceful protest. They were protesting against apartheid-inspired educational policies, including the forced use of Afrikaans language in schools, alongside English, as the language of instruction. To most black South Africans, Afrikaans was the language of their oppressor's.
During the protest - which lasted two weeks - the official number of dead was 176. Although some claim the number was much higher. Over 1000 were injured.
As a grass-roots organisation, The BRAVE Foundation is aware of the plight and disadvantage of many Zimbabwean children. Poverty, economic and political instability, poor sanitation, HIV-AIDS and other diseases, and a lack of infrastructure and services leaves many Zimbabwean children and their families unable to access affordable healthcare or attend school. Recent reports highlight that many rural children are walking up to 20 km per day to attend school.
Drug and alcohol use amongst adolescent Zimbabweans continues to increase. Reports of bullying and violence amongst young people is rising, and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideations continue to be a concern for children and young people in Zimbabwe.
The BRAVE Foundation believes healthy minds are the foundation on which successful nations are built. We also believe that a mentally healthy child will develop into a citizen who is capable of participating in the socio-economic transformation of the nation of Zimbabwe. Every child matters. Every mind counts.
So on this day, we not only reflect with solemnity on the injustices of the past - such as the fateful Soweto Uprising - and the inequalities, injustices and disadvantages many African children continue to face, but we also continue to marvel at the talents, potentials, strengths, beauty and bravery of the African children we meet on a daily basis. Big impacts here often only take small acts.
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This year, our friends at Chipawo Zimbabwe and SayWhat? will be live streaming a special show on Chipawo / earGROUND / SayWhat / ZimCelebs Facebook pages. Streaming from 12:00 noon (Central African Time) on June 16, 2021.
Check out these videos below from our friends at Chipawo. #letthembreath