On June 16, 1976 hundreds of South African children were massacred by the South African government after they took to the streets protesting against the forced learning of Afrikaans as a lingua-franca as opposed to native languages and since then, June 16 has been earmarked as the Day of the African Child.
In Zimbabwe, the commemorations are officiated by the junior parliamentarians who are sworn in by the President and this year it was held on June 18 in Harare.
The commemorations are held in all the provinces on different dates as per the plans of the organising committees and in Masvingo they will be held on July 29 at the Civic Centre.
This year's commemorations are running under the theme, "Investing in Children and Youth for an Empowered Society and Growing Economy in Order to Prevent Conflict and Crisis and Protect Children's Rights.
Masvingo's Provincial Youth Development Officer, John Mbizvo said they are already in the final stages of the preparations and hopes for a successful event.
"The actual day for the commemorations is June 16 every year and here in Zimbabwe we normally do belated commemorations since we wait for the junior parliamentarians to be sworn in.
"This day is dedicated to the children who were killed for demanding their rights. There youths died for believing in their roots. They refused to let go of their culture and this is the message we carry on the commemorations.
"Youths should not be ashamed of who they are. They should be proud of being Zimbabweans," said Mbizvo.
He said the introduction of junior parliamentarians was instrumental in facilitating the participation of youths in local governance.
"We also teach them about their rights as enshrined in the constitution. The youths are the future so we have to invest and protect the future. The event will be held at the Civic Centre and shall be attended by about 2 000 school children from the seven districts of Masvingo Province.
"Zimbabwe celebrates this day annually at national, provincial and district levels so that all children across the divide are aware of their rights," said Mbizvo.
He appealed for assistance from the corporate world so that the event will be successful.news