A child can simply be defined as a person who is not an adult. Another name for a child is a minor.
Since time immemorial, children have played a very crucial role in the family unit. Children are there to help in performing various small roles in the family.
Among the few roles children are expected to do include;
1. Help the parents in doing small chores like taking care of the babies either when on school holiday or at the weekends
2. Clean dishes
3. Fetch some water for use in the home
4. Wash a few clothes like handkerchiefs and socks
5. Teach the very young ones how to play
However, let us have an insight on how an African child’s rights has been violated
1. The right to education. Education is the key to acquiring knowledge and skills for the better future life. The African rural child has been denied opportunity to attend school and prepare for life in the future. This is basically because most of their parents never attended school. Therefore, they do not have any interest in school matters. They view education as a white man’s project.
2. A little girl for instance, is viewed as an investment on the part of the parents. The parents wait anxiously for the time when they will give out the girl for marriage in exchange for dowry. The girl is given out while barely as young as 13 years old. Interestingly, the man who takes her for marriage is normally an old and illiterate with many other wives. The girl becomes one of the many wives of the same man.
3. On the other hand, the boy is expected to marry a wife and start a family when barely 15 years old. They say the boy will have enough time to have many other children and wives too. It is a family need in order to extend the family lineage and the many interests of the family.
4. Another cruel act towards girls is the genital female mutilation. Many African rural young girls have been exposed to this. They believe that the girl must first be circumcised before being given out for marriage. This is a very bad form of abuse to the girl child as many have lost their lives and others contracted serious diseases while this barbaric act was being metted on them.
5. The boys on the other hand, are given the responsibilty to take care of the family herd of cattle which is normally high in number. Again, the older ones are made to secure the family from external aggression. They act as the military wing of the family unit. Many have lost their lives as a result of this. This is an abuse to the boy child.
6. In case of a tragedy like death of parents, both the boy and the girl are expected to take over the roles that were played by the parents. This becomes very difficult for them as they are expected to fend for the remaining members of the family which is always very extended.
These are just but a few insights on what it is that African rural children are exposed to. It is a culture many families in the rural African way of life have embraced. Luckily, the few who have managed to come out of this barbaric culture - are trying to give back to the society by teaching them the importance of abandoning this way of life.
In conclusion, I urge the many global organizations who deal on child rights to intervene and save the rural African children.
Numerous campaigns should be instigated to protect the innocent African children from this kind of exploitation.
Sourced Image: Marc Louwes