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In Honour of the Day of the African Child

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Children in Sierra Leone have joined other African countries in commemorating the Day of the African Child.

June 16 was a day the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) adopted following a spate of massacres of child protesters in the streets of Soweto, South Africa, in 1971.

The day is decorated with semantics, playing with words such as celebration and commemoration, which almost mean the same in covering the day’s event. In Sierra Leone, the Day of African Child is a whole event and it is observed with series of flashbacks and reflections. Though the event itself actually took place in South Africa; and Sierra Leone is miles away in the West grid axis of the continental map, it shares a similar brunt of effects.

Supposedly, the now AU adopted the day to tell the extraordinary way in which children took it upon themselves to rise against the despotic regime which used to govern that Southern African country.

It is unusual seeing children taking the lead on such life and death issues rising to the occasion fighting to liberate their mother land. The unnatural in this sense, was the senseless brutal killing done by those Afrikaans soldiers on harmless and defenseless children at the time; who willingly gave up their lives as such paying for their patriotic services.

In the Sierra Leonean context, it is understood that on this day, children and adults alike are given an extended liberty and compassion. Flogging them on this day, for example is prohibited; and in some circumstances they are made to assume leadership positions, in the security sector, broadcasting and a mammoth of monument is built around commemorating the day.

These are assumptions that children are prized assets in Africa and if given the opportunity to grow, they would build a giant nation by filling important positions, such as those in the civil service sectors, governance, professional field works and other niceties around.

In mourning the massacre of their colleagues in Soweto who where gunned down for simply honoring a patriotic service for their country, the relics of commemoration, the children of Sierra Leone have carved are there always to depict the importance of children and what they are capable of being.

A little earlier before the commemoration of the Day of African Child, the country had equally commemorated the Child Labour Day on June 13. This all point to the fact that inasmuch as international treaties are building much concept to ameliorate their conditions in pursuing the child’s own best interest, there is whole lot of caveat left around to cement their welfare, care, support and protection.

Sierra Express believes that the real change agents are within the children of this land which means they need to be nursed with special care. In marking the day of event, here are our belated felicitations in honour of their course, while also sharing a passion in their extended camaraderie.

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