International Day of the African Child, 16 June

On June 16 every year, governments, NGOs, international organisations and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of the rights of children in Africa. For 2014, the theme chosen returns to the roots of the movement: A child-friendly, quality, free, and compulsory education for all children in Africa.

On June 16th, International Day of the African Child commemorates those killed during the Soweto Uprising in South Africa.

The day also raises awareness of the ongoing need to improve education for children in Africa.
The Soweto Uprising began on June 16, 1976.

Thousands of black schoolchildren in South Africa led this series of protests and demonstrations.

The students were protesting against issues related to government-sanctioned apartheid within the student community.

On their way to Orlando Stadium in Soweto, heavily armed police met the students. The police fired tear gas and live ammunition at the students.

The result was a revolt directed against the South African government.

The revolt spread throughout the country and continued for several months.

It is believed that more than 170 people died during the Soweto Uprising. One of the youngest victims was just 12-years-old.

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the incident and the apartheid government.

Twenty years after the uprising, the South African Schools Act was passed.

This law put an end to mandatory segregation in South African schools.

The law also made primary education compulsory for all children starting at the age of 7.

Despite this fact, many children in South Africa and other parts of the continent do not get a quality education. Girls especially face many barriers to getting any education at all.

Many children in Africa drop out of school before their 10th birthday.

Other children throughout the continent do not have enough food or adequate shelter.

HOW TO OBSERVE #DayOfTheAfricanChild


The Organization of African Unity (OAU) initiated the first International Day of the African Child in 1991.

The date of June 16th commemorates the beginning of the Soweto Uprising in 1976.

With Agency Report