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International Day of the African Child

 With education, African children can be integral in championing social changes (Shutterstock)

International Day of the African Child (DAC) is marked on June 16 - a day when events are held across the world to promote children’s rights and create awareness on the importance of improving the education system in Africa.

DAC commemorates the 16th June, 1976 students uprising in Soweto, and it was initiated in 1991 by the Organization of African Union (Now the African Union).

We look at some of the things you should know about this day:

The Day of the African child commemorates the Soweto students, in South Africa, who were massacred in 1976 for protesting against education injustice and inequality in the country during the apartheid regime. Hundreds of students were killed and the march came to be known as Soweto Uprising.

It was designated as the Day of the African Child (DAC) by the OAU in 1991 and it is marked every year with events organized to promote children’s rights.

The day is celebrated every year (on June 16) and the celebrations are based on themes identified and agreed upon by the Committee Heads of State and Government of the AU, instituted in the memory of the June 16, 1976 uprising in Soweto, South Africa.

The AU uses the DAC to celebrate children in Africa and to inspire sober reflections and action towards addressing the challenges faced by children in Africa.

There are several barriers to education of the African children that necessitate DAC. There are cases where the parents cannot afford school fees, the distance to the nearest could be too far, and in some cases, early marriages keep girls out of the classroom.


With promoting quality education at the centre of the events marked worldwide in honour of DAC, more work is being put into ensuring that children in Africa receive quality education. With education, these children:

Are more likely to stay healthy, be independent and be integral in championing social changes With basic reading skills, can help lift 171 million people, according to Plan International, out of poverty Are, particularly girls, likely to have healthier children. Plan International says that when a girl in a developing country receives about 7 years of education, she is likely to marry four years later and with a 2.2 fewer children, who are healthy

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