Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Street Children Are a Waiting Disaster in Africa

Street children can become pillars of African countries development if they are offered a chance for education.

Children on streets are becoming too numerous in Africa. This is due to several factors like lack of social and political interest to protect them as the future for the national development. But despite this, I still believe that we are not waiting to revive Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal to the Irish government in the wake of increased street children on Irish streets, to consent to the plight in our countries. In fact, in the minds of Swift, since there were many street children whom the city and perhaps government authorities had failed to contain or rid off the streets, the said children be slaughtered, cooked and made a delicious dish on many dining tables of the well-off in different towns. Surely, Mr. Swift was being ironic and in this way he has been poking fun at those leaders who fail to find a durable answer to the dilemma of street children in their respective countries. What we note today here is that if you are moving along the streets of majority of African cities and the suburb roads, there is an incredible increasing scene of errand children. These children are actually destitute and left to the fate of their lives. Truly speaking, these delinquents freely roam the streets appealing to any sympathizer to come to their help, which means that they are begging to make a living. I hope the reason for this is that many of them have been victims of the political and social environment of their respective countries over periods of time. In other words, they have become a bizarre consequence of situation in which they are today and which engulfed their fair nation. Considering all the above, it is easy to state that they have become destitute in the real sense of the word as they have no shelter on their heads and have no one to provide them with plates of food for survival. In the very recent times, the press of one country reported in one of the cities where a women forum that there was an attempt to persuade the reluctant children to abandon the habit and go home. However, the question which lingers here remains that of knowing whether these children have a home where they will go back to. This depicts how some leaders are good speakers but oftentimes, they fail to implement what they said, which is a great failure indeed. At the moment, to the concerned authorities and the powers that be, this scenario is a disaster waiting to explode. These street children are dangerously coming to understand that life is characterized by living on the streets, eating from garbage heaps and loitering around day after day. They will take this to be the norm of real life. This is part of the citizens African countries will have soon and they will need to take part in pertinent issues of their countries. Once more questions come to my mind: what is the real future of such children and their countries in general? How will there unfortunate children be involved when they are not baked at all because today prepares tomorrow? Since these children are not getting an education and that the latter makes a prerequisite for their fair participation in national issues, they will become for sure left to vagaries and hazards of life. Without a doubt, such children too need a place to call home and education lest they become a precursor to insecurity in their cities. African council cities, if they do exist and if they take care of the future of their countries, should not wait for the number of street children to increase before they become aware of that there is a serious and alarming problem in their backyard. This is to say that once a portion of a population cannot achieve or acquire what it needs, this immediately leads to it to find a way of manifesting the problem. As an illustration, in a city like Nairobi, it is paying for letting loose the street children. They have now grown into street adults hardened by the conditions they went through since they are very young children. They steal and rob at the nose and the sight of the police and this goes with impunity. The police and country are coming to grips with the hardship to date. As a matter of fact, a pedestrian’s security on any Kenyan street is not guaranteed at all, may it be day or night and no matter the place where you are. However, this is not the case in all cities of Africa. In Kigali Rwanda for example, God has to be thanked because the streets here are still safe although no one is certain how long they will remain safe. I love to read the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, and in one of his great novels Things Fall Apart he notes that "When you see a toad moving out in broad day light you know that there is something after its life." This, in fact, reflects that the presence of these children on the African streets could be a serious issue of ion with the intention that we do not treat the symptoms but look back at the cause of this influx lately and see how to hold the bull by its horns. This is the angle in which the problem of street children in Africa must be addressed. Some African cities are peaceful today because the street children are still children. Today they are begging, practically requesting their donors to willingly handover the loose change in their possession. But when the nous of nuisance develops, they may use practical vigor and force and then things will fall apart, which will put the police at the test. We all know the consequences of this action, when someone coerces you into parting with what is legally yours. Should we believe that crook elements in society always wait for wrong excuses? The UN has always discouraged the use of child soldiers but the ears of dissenters never listen to this. Such a rogue charlatan will not hesitate to seize that opportunity to recruit in his ranks these street children and use them to cause havoc and even mayhem. The world we are living today has lost feelings, love toward some categories of children; missing parental love and care push them into this worst life case scenarios. These children do not need tutorials about hard life, they lived it after all. So they will be a target by the opportunists like war lords, child traffickers, child sexual abusers, etc. To save the situation, African City council authorities should include in their budget this destitute even if donors will be needed for intervention and so, give life and hope to this dreadful group to avert a future built on catastrophe. It has been found that the majority of the children on the African street are barely 10 years of age who are not all ready and able for making a living for themselves. It is better to beat the iron when it is still hot !

About the Writer

MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on Street Children Are a Waiting Disaster in Africa

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By TonyBerkman on July 22, 2010 at 12:34 am

I think it's until the people of the richest countries in the world stand up and vote with our money, we won't see changes. Stop supporting companies that don't do the right thing. Stop buying into political rhetoric.

It's our choice. Change has always come from the people.

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on July 22, 2010 at 01:29 am

Well said Melody, thank you for your nice comment and the way you state this point is really encouraging to raise awareness on this great plague the world is suffering today; everywhere there are street children who, in the long run will become a real threat to security. Solution will only come if the top leaders see the role the youth can play to bring the country's economy and development up. Neglect is destructive, all people of a country should be considered equally. But we parents also have a little bit of share in it; some of us make children go to street because we do not give them the assistance and love they deserve. I know that some parents of course are so poor that they cannot do anything but at least they should show parental affection to those children.

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on July 22, 2010 at 01:35 am

TonyBerkman, thank you for your precious comment. I do love your statement here. Change will come from the people provided they are willing to bring it. Nothing is impossible if people are committed to act for the community welfare. The governments also have to see how to value the youth; the children on the streets can become nice and productive people if they are given chance to develop their skills, and this requires that plans be done at higher levels, I mean national level with the participation of the grassroots.

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By Barkha Dhar on July 31, 2010 at 06:26 pm


At the outset, let me say that this piece speaks volumes about your passion. Your article clearly highlights some important social issues in Africa. I totally agree that its the balance between opportunity and oppression that causes an individual or society or a nation to sustain development and growth. Education sure is one such privilege that most children in some parts of Africa seem to be deprived of. Only if more and more people take the stand against such important causes, can a country move beyond challenges. Thanks for sharing such a brilliant piece.

Barkha Dhar

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on August 02, 2010 at 03:16 am

Barkha, thank you for your wonderful comment. It is sure that if more people get involved in the issue of street children, their commitment cannot hit the wall.


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