The Day of the African Child


 Do you know them? The view from the cafeteria window?

The smile of an African Child is infectious, I bet you had to smile as well. The year is 1991- does that ring a bell for you? That was over 30 years ago. Where were you? Hmmm! Hold on to that nostalgic recall and grab a seat as we kaleidoscope through the cafeteria windows at STC to Keri road that leads to the neighbouring primary school. Do you see the little boy riding at the back of his dad’s bicycle, his little feet dangling on the side?  In case you missed that, look out for the racing kids carrying their sky blue UNICEF bags or the other two siblings walking in the opposite direction in the company of their “grandfather”. As you get to the T-joint past the barrier, is the toddler that walks his brother to school without a miss. They always hold hands but I can bet the lady that walks with them squeezes the little ones hand a bit tighter. Yeap! Just in case his hop – stop – jump moves lead him to the road. These are just a few of the African children in our institution’s vicinity.

What of those around you

In case you have not noticed any of the above kids, you definitely have encountered those in your neighbourhood, family or by the roads you walk or drive by.  What is it that you admire in them and leaves you yearning for a piece of who they are? Is it their joy when they risk it all to just be present or is it their charisma that keeps you staring just a little longer? Such character was displayed to the world by “Ghetto Kids” the Ugandan group that became runners up of the just concluded British Got Talent. They unveiled to every eye that has followed their journey that despite coming from a children’s home, they chose to enjoy the present moment because joy can be found anywhere.

Is there more to this child? 

Yes, an African child likes doing it all with a willing heart filled with love while involving others. You can never win alone for we all need each other. In addition, we engage freely and ask each other questions. Answers don’t always come but we let the world know what’s on our minds.  At the end of it all you will see some of us kick the ball, smoke the grounds with dust as we call out each other’s name. It’s exhilarating to hear someone call out your name and not refer to you as“weee”.  Over and above that, we smile through life and at times even with tears in our eyes. However, when night falls, we rest and hope for a better tomorrow with our families, friends and strangers that pop our way. We chose to delight in the present moment, that way we are not missing about of our “now”.

In closing, remember that today is a special day for the children in your life. Since 1991, June 16th has been used to honour the African Child internationally. Its cornerstone is to continually raise awareness for the need to ameliorate the education provided to African children. Back in 1976, the date saw the start of the Soweto Uprising in South Africa. Here thousands of black school children died during a series of demonstrations aimed at protesting the poor quality education during apartheid.

As you trudge through your reality, take a step back and be “childish”. Engage that little boy/girl, tell them what you admire about them and why? They may just give you a reason to kick start that to-do list that’s been pending since January.

This article was written by Annete Karanja.

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via

What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via


See more news