Recent happenings worldwide have proven the African child is an “Endangered specie” of human beings. This is not because they will soon go out of extinct, but because they are haunted everywhere they go, even in their homeland. According to studies published on dw.com, wars only, killed 5 million African children over 20 years. The International Day of the African child didn’t happen perchance and that is why it is celebrated every year.
The hundreds who died in Soweto South Africa in 1976 envisaged all these killings and hardship conditions and fought ahead of us. African children like Senge have no other option but to stand up and fight for themselves because even the leaders they look up to cannot fight for them.
“International Day of the African Child 2020, Senge’s Ordeal” exposes some of our African children face because they have black skin no one to fight for them.
Where it all started
Senge was 10 and in primary school when her mama and papa died. The brutal killing of her parents right before her eyes by the village vigilante group traumatizes her whole being. They are wrongly accused of collaborating with neighbouring villagers they are warring with over a piece of land.
Uncle Epie brings Senge, the orphan to live with his family in Mutengene, South West Region of Cameroon.
Her stay in Mutengene becomes the beginning of another horrible experience. Uncle Epie turns Senge into his sex puppet. He would sneak into her room each time the coast is clear and have sex with the ten-year-old.
This happens till when she gets to Upper sixth. Don’t ask why Senge doesn’t report to uncle Epie’s wife. She doesn’t like Senge and wants her out of her house. If she mentions such a thing, Mme Epie will send her packing that will be all for her. At least, she needed to finish her primary education.
As Senge writes the Advanced level, she looks for friends she can stay with and when the results were proclaimed, she runs away from home in Mutengene and starts living with her two female friends in Buea.
She starts a side hustle-selling at a restaurant in Molyko and applies to read Management in the University of Buea.
What happens to Senge after she leaves her uncle’s house?
Boom! Its 2016 and Senge is excited to study at the university. But something happens.
Common-Law lawyers and Anglophone teachers in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon are striking due to injustices meted on them by the system of government. This sparks up the Anglophone crisis.
The teachers are angry because they are sent to teach in French regions and they are forced to teach in a language they do not understand. Also, French administrators are sent to their English schools, making communication and comprehension difficult.
The lawyers on their part are disgruntled because they practice common law but the judges sent to them do not practice common law.
So, the strike action escalates and schools are crippled in these regions of the country. Some lawyers, teachers and heads of their trade unions are arrested and detained by the government.
Youths supporting their cause and other accumulated anger prompt them to form separatist groups that divide the nation into three camps. There are those supporting the separatists, others behind the government to fight against the separatists and those who remain neutral.
This affects schools in these regions. Some are burnt, others destroyed to the ground and others turned to no-go areas by the separatists.
Senge is confused and doesn’t know what to do. To help the situation, she decides to take in for her boyfriend with the plan of going back to school when the strike ends.
What happens next?
While things calm down in 2019, Senge decides to apply again at the university. After going to school for a few months, they go on break and when they come back from Christmas break. A pandemic (COVID-19) strikes the world that sends everyone indoors. Senge remains an Advanced Level Certificate holder for 3 years for reasons she contributed nothing to.
You can read about African childhood stories here
History of the International Day of the African Child
On 16 June 1976 In Soweto, South Africa, thousands of black schoolchildren took to the streets to protest about the inferior quality of their education and to demand their right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of them were shot down; and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand injured.
To honour their courage and in memory of those killed, in 1991 the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) established the Day of the African Child. The Day also draws attention to the lives of African children today.
This year’s theme is “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa”.
Why the International Day of the African Child is worth Commemorating.
The African child is trapped in most of the circumstances it finds itself.
Having a safe pass at every stage is always very difficult. The international day of the African Child advocates for the educational rights of the African child. However, less is seen in this. Senge almost does not go to primary and Secondary school because the villagers kill her parents. If not for her uncle, she would have remained in the village.
We need to remember African children who died whose rights were bot respected.
Since 1991, the Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 to commemorate those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. And to recognize the courage of the students who marched for their right to an education. The same thing the children were killed for is happening till date. Students and teachers in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon are striking due to language barriers in their systems. Moreover, the killing of children in Cameroon is worth remembering. We are talking of the recent Ngarbuh incident in which more than 5 children were murdered by Cameroonian soldiers, women and children killed in the North Region of Cameroon.
The Day of the African Child is also an opportunity to raise awareness for the ongoing need to improve the education of children living across Africa.
It’s a need that still very much exists today. Of the 57 million primary school-age children currently out of school around the world, over half are from sub-Saharan Africa. Cameroon is not an exception. The many school drop-outs in Ekona, Kumba, Bangem, Ekondo-Titi, Mutengene, Babubock, Bafaka-Balue, Kembong, Bambui in are among this number.
Injustices meted on the parents of these children.
Moreover, we are commemorating because the parents of these children who are supposed to send them to school are victims of brutality and injustices. Many parents have been killed in Ekona, Mamfe, Muyuka by the Anglophone crisis. This has made many of their children school dropouts. George Floyd who was recently killed in America is another African parent whose daughters’s education has been jeopardized
Please share, like and give us more reasons why we have to celebrate this day.