The day is commemorated every year since 16th June 1991, and idea was initiated by member states of Organization of Africa Unity (OAU), now Africa Union (AU) in memory of the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa, during which students who marched in protest against the poor quality of education, were massacred by the then monstrous and heartless apartheid regime.
During that uprising in Soweto, about ten thousands black school children marched more than half mile long, protesting against the poor quality of their education and demanding for them to be taught in their own language.
Hundreds of young students were shot to death, the most famous amongst them was Hector Peterson and more than a hundred people were killed in the protests and more than a thousand injured.
The theme for this year’s commemoration is “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity”. The Child friendly version is “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030″.
In commemoration of this historic in day in Sierra Leone, children were given the opportunity to be on television and radio engaging the nation, serving as public figures and other duty bearers on issues focusing on child rights violations; child labour, teenage pregnancy, child marriage and violence in learning institutions.
The children will be interviewing key duty bearers, donors and implementing partners dealing with children’s issue to help elaborate around the localized theme protecting children’s rights.
However, despite those yearly engagements to address child labour, teenage pregnancy and children marriage, they still remain eminent and derelict in societies across Africa.