Reflections on the International Day of the African Child

Today we are reminded that though traditionally, ‘youthfulness’, as a concept, is expungable; the structural legacies of systemic violence formed against the African child linger long after one has exited the biological demographic. As Africans, we must become accustomed to sitting in the uncomfortable realities of dreams denied and hopes deferred. May we reflect on our positionality, sit in the painful legacies of the past, and use our lived experiences to forge a more liberated tomorrow – a future where we must fearlessly reclaim the spaces we were predestined to occupy. 

In remembering, the 20 000 school going children that chose to challenge a repressive regime in 1976; we must never lose the spirit of resistance they embodied. The lasting impact of such youth-led resilience surrounds us today as globally, children of African descent, rise to challenge systems that have subjugated them for so long. Our ability to affect impactful transformation, regardless of our positionality never be downplayed. In the next 30 years, young Africans are forecast to form over a quarter of the world’s labour force. How are will each of us account for our contribution to their prosperity?

Happy Youth Day to all my South African friends and comrades. In this era of resistance, may we all glean from the spirit of conscious youthfulness to forge a better tomorrow for Africa. May the African experience in the aftermath of COVID-19 be shaped by a progressive African youth majority. A majority willing to stand up for all that is just, within the parameters of human dignity, and equitable prosperity. Likewise, in the spirit of the Soweto Uprising of 1976 – a revolutionary International Day of the African Child to all of Africa’s children.