Day of the African Child; Cameroon's English-speaking children at crossroads




Tuesday June 16, 2020, marks the 29th edition of the Day of the African Child (DAC). This day was first initiated in 1991 by the Organization of African Union (OAU) to commemorate the June 16, 1976, students uprising in Soweto South Africa, where students who marched in protest against apartheid-inspired education, were brutally murdered.

This day is celebrated yearly on June 16, by the African Union and other Members in remembrance of the 1976 murder. It is celebrated this year under the theme “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa” as adopted by the African Union Executive Council, during its 34th Ordinary Session, held on 07 – 08 February 2019.


In 1991, due to the brutal murder of students in Soweto South Africa, who marched protesting against poor quality education and demanded to be taught in their own language. 

Cameroon could be liken to such happenings. The on going socio-political unrest in the region partially sparked by education, has also led to the death of students. 

Students have not been able to effectively attain classes due to the crisis in the North West and South West regions of the country. 

Gun battling in some areas have left children frustrated due to the death of their parents and as a result no one to sponsor them. 

In some areas, schools have been burnt and teachers killed leaving the prospect of school continuity in a slow rate. 

Remote areas are not left out wherein, children are forced to escape with their parents to bushes due to gun battles and fear of the unknown. 

Young’s who ought to have been in school studying have now become prostitutes, fighting for survival and a means to earn a leaving. 

Lack of focus and concentration by students, motivated by stylish dressings to attend classes this bringing in comparison. 

There is also an increase in drugs amongst children in Cameroon. With the increase consumption of tramadol, a pain killer used as an enhancer. 

This aspect of safety schools and safety children is not only an aspect of Anglophone Cameroon but the entire country. In Douala, captial of Cameroon's Littoral Region, the number of street kids is alarming. Social insertion has proven difficult over the years

Voanews in April 2020 reported that Cameroon had counted a thousand street children with ages from 4 years to 17 years in the towns of Yaoundé and Douala. The figures increased to over 10,000 when the separatist crisis broke out in the country’s English speaking north west and south west regions, and Boko Haram terrorism intensified on Cameroons northern border with Nigeria.

Henri Nyambi Dikosso, director of national solidarity at Cameroon Ministry of Social Affairs is leading a group of social workers and hospital staff removing hundreds of children from streets in the capital Yaoundé. Dikosso says they are making sure they screen against COVID-19, which has been spreading in the central African state.

Authorities of the Republic of Cameroon have often commemorated this day with the children's parliament. Though laws to ensure the safety and protection of Children are yet to be fully respected by all and sundry

By

Anye Nde Nsoh

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