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RasTafari Continental Council (RCC) Youth Council Solidarity Statement on the International Day of the African Child

RasTafari Continental Council (RCC) Youth Council Solidarity Statement on the

International Day of the African Child

Issued: 16 JUNE 2020

“The future prospects of a country depend upon its young people. The integrity and the well

being of the whole of Africa can be preserved only if youths without ceasing effort have

developed an acute sense of discrimination thus adopting what is only essential and

constructive whilst discarding that which does not contribute to the goals and aspirations of

the people of Africa”. Haile Selassie I (1965)

On June 16 1976 ten thousand black students from Soweto, South Africa marched the streets

protesting as a way to demonstrate their disapproval of the Apartheid Black Education Act

which segregated students based on their race and they also demanded their right to be taught in

their own native language.

1971 Students Uprising in Soweto

In response, hundreds of the innocent students were shot by Caucasian security forces and

thousands were injured.

It is against this background that InI RasTafari youths from the breadth and length of the African

Continent find it of paramount importance to pledge our solidarity with the tenets and principles

that Youths in Soweto stood for.

With this year’s theme being “Access to a Child-friendly justice system in Africa” we implore

the African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, African governments and all

responsible authorities to have serious introspection and commitment to reprieve the plight of

African Children from all forms of injustices.

InI reiterate the position that African governments should honor the International Day of the

African Child as it serves to raise awareness for the situation of African Children and the need

for continuous improvement of their education so as to realize their full potential as well as their

general well-being.

In the wake of the global pandemic dubbed Covid-19 InI would like to applaud African

government authorities for measures that they have put in place such as withdrawing pupils from

school, applying lockdown regulations, implementing the practice of social distancing amongst

other initiatives so as to curb the transmission of coronavirus.

InI would also love to thank the generality of African adults and children for their cooperation

and resilience in the fight against this deadly pandemic.

 

Relevant authorities should however pay heed of the fact that children are the most affected in

this endeavor. Families are being torn apart, parents failing to adequately provide for their

children due to loss of income hence mounting the protection risk for many children in Africa.

With pupils having been ordered out of schools, it means they are losing out on school lessons

hence the need to adapt and invest in electronic online learning without depriving children

without access to online learning material especially those from the remote and marginalized

communities.

During the Covid-19 induced lockdown, records of child exploitation in the form of child labor,

child negligence, child sexual abuse as well as teenage pregnancies have been on the increase in

many African countries.

This is against the RasTafari creed which implores young ones to be cared for as it states that

“Let the hungry be fed, naked be clothed, sick be nourished, age be protected and

infants cared for”.

The 16th of June will forever be engraved in the hearts and minds of InI the RasTafari youths

from the African Continent and beyond as it coincides with the birth of InI RasTafari Patriarch

Leonard Percival Howell who was born on this day in 1898.

LP Howell went through inhuman treatment in the hands of the colonial government in Jamaica

in the early 20th century for proclaiming the name of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I’s divinity.

His resilience and character together with all that of Matriarchs and Patriarchs of the Rastafari

faith gives us the youth’s courage and encouragement as we remain “confident in the victory of

good over evil”.

 

One RasTafari ! One Continent! One Council!

 

(Signed)

Secretary-General

Ras Kudakwakwashe Vhenge (Zimbabwe)

Supported by Empress Siphokazi Ntilini : Chairperson (South Africa)

Ras Kofi Asante: Vice Chairperson (Ghana)

 

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