According to the African traditional society, a child is always given maximum respect in the community.
The day of the African child began to be celebrated in 1991 and is now celebrated every year on June 16th in Africa as initiated by the organization of African unity (OAU) in honor of those who participated in the Soweto march in 1976 and aiming at continuing the need for improvement of the education provided to Africa’s children.
In South Africa June 16th 1976,
ten thousand black school children marched for half a mile protesting for the poor quality of education and the need to be taught in their own language. During this protest, hundreds of school children were shot dead and others were left seriously injured.
Salesians in the world have got their charism of always associating with the children and the youth, especially the poor and the abandoned, in all areas where they are located. Following this, the Salesians of Don Bosco in Rwanda Gatenga community joined with the children to honor this day of the African child in their oratory on Sunday June 17th 2018 and more than 1500 children turned up, the youths were over 800 and then the parents, almost 200, were present for this feast.
Since the oratories of the Salesians are places of study, church and places for leisure, the children learnt a lot from their oratory and they tried to show different activities, for example the finals of the football tournament for both boys and girls of the eight primary schools in Gatenga sector that began on Monday 10th were played on Sunday. Thanks to the generosity of various sponsors, trophies and balls were given to the teams that won; pens, books and other items were also given out to the children.
Continuing to give respect to this day, the acrobats, kung fu’s, etc., also made their presentations which were so beautiful. A group of musicians of the oratory sang and played the jazz band; fashion shows, traditional and modern dances were also seen from the children that turned up for this day.
One of the officials from the government working in the sector of Gatenga and in charge of the commission of education was welcomed and in her speech asked the children to love the education offered to them and to try to avoid all kinds of bad habits that would lead them into danger or cause them to drop out from school thus limiting their chances to success. She also invited the children to report all kinds of abuse done to them by their parents or other people and there she assured them a positive response always when they came out.
After we listened to a speech from the Director of the Salesian community Gatenga,
Rev. Fr. Jean Pierre Turabanye, who appreciated whoever attended the celebration especially the children who were celebrating their day. He thanked the leader from the sector of Gatenga for having honored the day of the African child and for the good message that she passed on to the children.
Rev. Fr. Turabanye advised the children to pray hard to God to bless them with his gifts of life, love, wisdom, humility and obedience, that they may imitate Saint Dominic Savio who died as an adolescent like them. He also used this opportunity to pass over the various gifts which were prepared to the different groups that participated in the various activities of the day.
In his conclusion, Rev. Fr. Jean-Pierre Turabanye
called for silence from the children and using this moment, he prayed for God’s blessing on the children and their families, that the Almighty God continue to guide and protect them in their daily activities as they look forward to attaining their success.
Prenovice Julius Nsubuga