The famous June 16 which is celebrated by the entire African continent as a day to commemorate the suffering of innocent African Children during the 1976 Soweto protest, when thousands of Black School Children stormed the streets of South Africa agitating against the apartheid regime.
As a special day, it gingers the enthusiasm for us to establish a forum where pertinent issues regarding the suffering of the African Child could be discussed, more especially the AIDS orphans, Child Soldiers and deplorable youths who are potential leaders of the African continent.
It is an indisputable fact that this day, especially in Sierra Leone, was hilariously celebrated during the early 90s, under the NPRC Military Regime to be precise. This was the time Sierra Leonean Children were given the opportunity to assume public offices where they were taught how to man positions of responsibility as future leaders.
It was like an orientation meant to galvanize their behaviour in society; behaviour that has to do with positivity.
I am fortunately a beneficiary of that momentous day.
The primary school I attended was among the schools that used to colourfully commemorate this day. Our instructors used to picture a scene that was reminiscent of the Soweto massacre and the reaction of the school children.
In those days, pupils ascended enviable administrative positions in the school system upon relevant rehearsals.
In a bid for active retrospection, even when it was during the military era, pupils were privileged to occupy the seat of power in which appropriate honour was accorded to whosoever assumed an office of this nature.
The celebration was incredibly magnified to the extent that a scenario was created to seeing children as real future leaders of this nation.
On the contrary however, as June 16 was moving by from early yesterday morning and angrily melting down in the evening, it saw an abysmal neglect and a perpetual disregard of its status. A day which was set aside by the OAU now AU in 1991 to emancipate the African Child from immeasurable suffering, was seen yesterday as a day which encouraged manifold suffering to descend on poor Sierra Leonean children.
This day is gradually lacking recognition in the present Sierra Leonean Society.
It was appalling to have seen children suffering peacefully on a day established purposely to relieve them of their sufferings.
The entire streets of Freetown were seen full of street children with their faces anointed with the highest degree of poverty, and patiently wallowing in a pool of oblivion.
Organizations that are responsible to manage the welfare of these children were seen proudly moving by in their fascinating jeeps splashing water from pot-holes against these impoverished children.
The big-headed government itself pays absolutely no attention to this situation. Instead it was committed to arresting and detaining these children on a day which is set to liberate them.
In practical sense, let’s try to imbibe the real meaning of this conspicuous day in the African Calendar. By every pragmatic indication this day symbolizes the severity of torture and inhuman treatment of the African Child.
Concerned organizations should endeavour to drive their concentrations to gloriously commemorating this day. If people can afford to commemorate nights like Bob Marley, days like Valentine, why can’t we submit ourselves to commemorating this Day in its real sense?