Day of the African Child: A child is a child of everyone – Sudanese Proverb
They say that a picture can paint a thousand words and the picture showing the limp body of 12 year old Hector Pieterson who was killed at the hands of the repressive South African apartheid regime as he and his fellow students demonstrated for their basic rights is one that none of us can or should forget. The date of that atrocity against a defenceless child was 16th June 1976.
In 1991as a mark of respect to the children who took part in the Soweto uprising on 16th June 1976, including Hector Pieterson the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) – now known as the African Union (AU) established the International Day of the African Child a day to celebrate each and every African child to see our children excel and grow in love and unity. Furthermore, the AU’s objectives for this day is to continue to raise awareness about education for African Children. The focus is to provide African Children with education and improve the educational systems on the continent.
UNICEF predicts that: “In the next 35 years, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa; the continent’s population will double in size; and its under-18 population will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion”.
In connection with the International Day of the African Child, ‘The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, was created by the AU (OAU) in 1999 dedicated to the protection and welfare of the African Child. Every year a theme is chosen to commemorate African Child’s day. This year’s theme is “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights,” which aims to elevate African Children’s suffering during conflict and crisis.
Children are the future of Africa and as our continent’s youths continue to grow in large numbers we should protect and invest in their future, investing in education and healthcare. In line with the AU’s educational objective of International Day of the African Child and in celebration of African Children all over the world and their right to an education, here are five children’s books by African authors recommended by the Editors of AfricanPostmark.
Books to read:
· Chike and the River – Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
Is the story of 11 year old Chike who embarks on an adventure with his friend S.M.O.G across the Niger river to the city of Asaba. However, Chike does not have the fare needed to ride the ferry.
“Chike and the River is a magical tale of boundaries, bravery, and growth, by Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most beloved and admired storytellers.”
· How the Crane Got its Crown – Olivia Nakiingi Infield (Uganda)
A Crane got together with all the other Ugandan cranes to work as a team to deal with problem of drought that troubled their land. Fastest and largest animals couldn’t solve this issue only but the Cranes who flew to the rain clouds and saved the day.
“Today, the crowned crane is Uganda’s national emblem and can be seen in the centre of the Ugandan flag. And that is How the Crane Got Its Crown”
· African Tales a Barefoot collection – Gcina Mhlophe (South Africa)
“This African collection is beautifully illustrated with hand-sewn embroidered artwork decorated with African beads on a silk base. The eight tales are from Ghana, Senegal, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Sudan, Swaziland and Ethiopia; each is prefaced by a short introduction to the country.”
· The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Grow Up – Veronique Tadjo (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Little Ayanda loves her father with all her heart. One day he goes away, and doesn’t return. She is so sad that she decides she doesn’t want to grow up. So she stays small for a long time, even when her friends tease her. One day her mom gets sick and she changes her mind. She grows bigger so that she can help her family. But when trouble strikes her village, is she big and brave enough to save everyone?”
· Favourite African Folktales – Nelson Mandela (South Africa)
“Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and a Nobel Laureate for Peace, has selected these thirty-two tales with the specific hope that Africa’s oldest stories, as well as a few new ones, be perpetuated by future generations and be appreciated by children throughout the world. We meet, among many others, a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads and a trickster from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena and learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns.”
Visit www.africanbookclub.com for more recommendations.
Let us never forget that the protection of children is the responsibility of all of us because as the Sudanese say “A child is a child of everyone” – Happy International Day of the African Child
More recommended reading:
- Aya of Yop City – Marquerite & Clement Oubrerie (more in the series)
- West African Trickster Tales – Martin Bennett
- The Africa child – Camora Laye
- Things Fall Apart – China Achebe
- Old Mikamba had a Farm – Rachel Isadora
- Mama Panya’s Pancakes– Mary and Rich Chamberlin
- Long Walk to Freedom – Chris van Wyk (Adaptation), Nelson Mandela, Paddy Bouma
- Kwajo and the Brassman’s Secret – Meshack Asare
- How Skinny became a Hero – Kudakwashe Muzira
- Ellie and that Cat – Malorie Blackman
You can also get some great books from this great website Bino and Fino