WALVIS BAY – “All children are special. Not only should we be heard, but our rights should be protected all over the world,” said Ezra Zulu from Zambia shortly after taking part in a march through the streets of Walvis Bay.
Zulu is part of 400 children from Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe who commemorated World Children’s Day yesterday, a day early, in Walvis Bay.
World Children’s Day is commemorated on 20 November since its establishment in 1954. Organised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef), this year’s celebrations were held under the theme “Renewing Our Promise for Children’s Rights”.
Unicef was established in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, to help children and young people whose lives and futures were at risk.
Zulu, who hails from the Northern Province in Zambia, stated that it is an honour for him and the selected children to partake in the renewal of the vow to protect children’s rights.
“I am just here to share and shine a light on the especially significant role children play in society. We are the future leaders of tomorrow. Every child is special in his/her own specialty, and should be celebrated,” he beamed.
Masego Isaac from Botswana said creating awareness of children’s rights and the overall treatment of children is an important aspect of every country. She observed that one cannot refer to children as the future leaders of tomorrow if a safe space is not created for them now.
“That is why we are all here… to celebrate this wonderful day with our current leaders and children around the world as well. However, we should not only speak about children’s rights and treatment, but should enforce these laws for the protection of children,” Isaac added.
Tanyaradzwa Mariman from Zimbabwe stressed the importance of access to education and basic needs for children. Governments around the world, she noted, should do more to protect children, and make sure that they have access to basic needs to prosper as future leaders.
“They have to make sure that every child gets educated, regardless of their circumstances. Only then can we talk about children as future leaders,” she said.
The official commemorations took place yesterday evening at Namport. President Hage Geingob, his counterparts Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia), Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana) and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa were expected to attend this year’s celebrations.
The Heads of State aim to build on the regional engagements established in Botswana in 2021 and Zambia in 2022, where a commitment was made to create a Heads of State Network. This network serves as a platform to discuss issues of mutual concern, and develop concrete strategies to address children’s rights in their respective countries.