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
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
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!
Ras Kudakwakwashe Vhenge (Zimbabwe)
Supported by Empress Siphokazi Ntilini : Chairperson (South Africa)
Ras Kofi Asante: Vice Chairperson (Ghana)