Moroka Children Shine on their day
Botswana, Gaborone, 18 June 2013: June 16 celebrates the lives of African children. The courage to fight for their rights that began in 1976 in South Africa has grown over the years not only to honour its pioneers but also to continue the fight against violation of children’s rights in Africa as a whole.
Moroka village in the North East part of Botswana was identified as an ideal venue for this year’s activities. If fit well with this year’s theme “Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices Affecting Children: Our Collective Responsibility” as most harmful social and cultural practices against children are common in this village and surrounding areas. The children of Moroka expressed the theme in various entertaining and educating ways such as music, poetry, drama and dance. They drew attention to the impact of early child marriages, discrimination against children with disabilities, denial of education, health services and other harmful religious, social and cultural practices against children.
One notable presentation was made by the Vice Chair Person of the Children Consultative forum Tshepiso Masilonyane who emphasized the importance of child protection and ensuring that children reach their full potential. Masilonyane also called on the youth to not let the memory of those killed in 1976 and the courage of all those who marched to go to waste. “Let the freedom fought for us 37 years ago enable us to be the best we can be, we must desist from alcohol and drug abuse, crime and ill behavior that will destroy our future”.
The children of Moroka impressed the key note speaker Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Peter Siele who commended all performances from pre-school singing, older children drama acts, confident young directors of ceremonies and inspiring speeches by the Children’s Consultative Forum. Hon. Siele indicated that it is important to balance the preservation of custom and culture with the need to uphold the dignity and protection of children.
“ In Botswana, we are contending with issues such as forced child marriages, child betrothal, abductions, denial of educations services to children which makes them loose their right to be empowered for better living”, Hon Siele said.
Hon Siele highlighted that Botswana has put in place laws, policies, guidelines and other frameworks to protect children. “These continue to be reviewed and new ones developed to address the emerging needs”, added Hon. Siele.