Monday, 24 June 2013

The African child

We commemorated the day of the African child last Friday when there is a lot going on in the continent. The status of the African child has barely changed since most countries achieved independence from the late 1940s to the 1960s. Most African countries aimed to achieve the best for their citizens once the colonial powers had left them to self-rule. The governing elite of most states had the sole responsibility of ensuring that the generation that followed them had a better place to live and that they would inherit the good of the land once they, the initial post-colonial elite, left power. Unfortunately what many of the ruling elite did was of to the benefit of themselves and their cronies, the next generation did not matter, they misgoverned and lived for the day without giving a care to the future generation.

This brings me to the African child who is wholly part of the generation that was supposed to find the foundations of splendour had been set by their elders. looking at most African countries, i really empathise with what the African child is accustomed to endure. From the unrest and lawlessness in Somalia, Chad, Central African Republic, DRC to the religious battles in Northern Nigeria, the persistent drought and deadly famines that ravish the Horn of Africa and parts of Northern West Africa, the decimation of families by the AIDS scourge, the unrelenting wave of disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, the meltdown caused by the Arab Spring in countries to the North like Egypt and Libya, economic meltdowns in most African countries most notably Zimbabwe, tribalism, nepotism that have made it seem a child is born in the right or wrong tribe or social class depending on who's in power, deteriorating moral and social values that shape the child to embrace moral rot as a normal way of life and cataclysmic poverty that ensures that the African continent is limping behind Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. The African child has had a front row seat to the misfortune that engulfs the continent. The African child has been a child soldier, forced to kill and maim even before adulthood, he has been an eater of human flesh during hard times of war and hunger. They also endure child trafficking and are deep into drug abuse.They have been denied adequate education in the face of misrule, and collapsed governments. they have endured the pain of losing parents to AIDS and preventable diseases. They have borne the anguish of hunger pangs in the wake of preventable famine. They are forced to swim in unsafe flood waters on their way to and from school. And the shackles of child labour and child prostitution have withheld the African child from the innocence of childhood.
Most of the African child's misfortunes are not of their own making, but the making of the governing class. they have contributed to impoverishing the continent and ruining the lives of children. The ruling class have an obligation to ensure that every child gets a good education, is beaming with good health, has food to eat and has a lifestyle that is desirable even in the face of challenges but most have failed. They are able to establish mechanisms to combat disasters and disease but they have not. They blame their former colonial powers for their misfortunes, an argument the African child is unaware of and should not be part of. And it seems through misrule and tyranny we see in the continent, the African child is experiencing the sins of their founding fathers. Sadly,the African child does not have a lot to chose from when it comes to role models in leadership, leadership that is geared towards transforming the African continent.

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