A right to a voice for an African child,
A right to affection and happiness for an African child,
A right to opportunity, platform and belief that the African child has greater things to offer,
A right to a home that provides us with the best education, food, security,
A right to an education system that allows us understand more and be curious about our own environment,
A right to a Father who stands his grounds while being manipulated to give out all that feeds his family in return for just mediocracy,
A right to embrace and be proud of our identity as African people,
A right to dream and think BIG for the African child,
A right to breathe for the African child really isn’t much to ask.
The African child is still at stake of rape, racism, malnutrition, death due to war and forced labor if the African parent doesn’t commit himself or herself to provide security, food, education, shelter but most importantly affection and happiness to the child.
You don’t have to adhere to my parole when I say that the sign of great parenting isn’t the child’s behavior but rather the parents’, but maybe you will believe Bob Keeshan who said,” Parents are ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than a parent.”
While being the unreasonable and strict mother or the terrifying and very serious father, many African parents deprive the African children the right to choose their own career paths thinking that the only way to be successful is to become a doctor, or engineer and in the process, they don’t realize that they are building huge walls that interfere with their relationships with the children.
All I ask is that the African parents stop clinging to the statement,” my dad or mom did this to me too” and become fully aware that believing in our talents and dreams, lending us a shoulder when all goes wrong in lieu of admonishing us, protecting us from the world’s oppression and injustice as well as giving us the courage to dream big and move forward is all it will take to have a non-youngster, happy, educated, determined and healthy African children.
A wise man once said,” Africa isn’t facing a food crisis nor a water crisis, it is facing a knowledge crisis.” Providing the African child with a class, a teacher, a book, and a pen isn’t what it takes for us to get the promised education. We need a class, a teacher, a book, a pen but most importantly the material that doesn’t instill us with skills of how to help the west grow more, but with the content that allows us to be curious, acknowledge, embrace, give value as well as exploit our own original, authentic, and indigenous knowledge in agriculture, architecture, politics, engineering, mining, industrialization, fashion and education.
We need an education system that instills us with enough confidence to believe in our own ways of doing things so as to acquire the self-reliant and knowledgeful Africa that we not only want but also deserve. This isn’t much to ask.
I also want to entreat the African governments to allow us have a homeland that is peaceful with no glimpse of injustice, a homeland in which we will be able to move around without fear of being attacked by goons, a homeland that provides us with the best opportunities that help us exploit fully our capabilities as well as a homeland where our leaders are omniscient enough to not just give out what’s supposed to feed us in exchange of nothing but rather maladies.
Enough is enough. Enough of the diseases. Enough of the hunger and malnutrition. Enough of the silent injustice the African child is facing. Enough of the nicknames of my homeland for example, the Dark Continent, the black continent, the trash continent, the hungry continent, the poor continent, the list goes on.
Enough of the pressure on the African child’s neck. And as an African child, I won’t sit around while whoever takes my happiness, future, dreams and most importantly my breath away.
Come on we are prodigies, together as African children what do we do then? We shall not stand while the west hegemonizes and enslaves us in mining our gold for their companies, we shall fight. We shall not fall for their intimidating eyes that will make them get the cheapest deals from us, and will not be gullible to accept mediocracy at the expense of our future, we shall fight.
Being called tomorrow’s leaders, entrepreneurs, doctors, and engineers doesn’t mean we will voice out our ideas tomorrow or overmorrow.
No, we shall start now bearing in mind that despite the aid and loans from the so-called leaders of the world, may be out of pure generosity to save the damsels in distress, which I doubt, we will stand our grounds while they try to dictate our own ways of using the fund towards development.
We shall begin now exploiting our talents. We shall start now believing the strength of our voices, imagination, skills and most importantly our identity. We shall start now silencing the guns. We shall start now embracing our own way of doing things as African children. We shall start now working out of our comfort zones, and making “DEVELOPING AFRICA” our prestigious career. We shall start now replacing laziness with hard work, trepidation with equanimity, despair with hope, indiscipline with discipline, maladies with wellness, hunger with satisfaction, ignorance with pedagogy, nonchalance with curiosity, procrastination with anticipation, unfairness with justice, unnecessary pride with necessary humility, degrees with careers, and hatred with love.
As Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad said,” it isn’t all about what how much you gain but rather how much you keep”, we shall start now holding onto the injustice-free environment, the quality education, the wellness, the opportunities, the development of our homeland, the peace and freedom in our own space that we are fighting for.
And despite our miniature differences as African children, we are all fighting for the same thing, we are all riding the same boat, and that’s why we shall hold hands when agitation, despair, anxiety, and worry surface, and stand up for our breath, stand up for our future, stand up for our voices, stand up for our treasure, stand up for our truth, peace and justice. Because our lives matter, our voices matter, our futures matter, our talents matter, our breath matters, and our health matters. The African child matters.
Remember No Justice, No Peace.
The author is a 17-year-old, student at Riviera High School. She is in her final year of secondary school.