Book: Essay Contest for Children of African Descent 2009

By Lorna Jones | Mon 4 January 2010

Children of African descent have few avenues for giving their point of view on contemporary issues. Over the last four years, the Essay Contest for Children of African Descent has encouraged and supported children from eight to sixteen to write on some of the challenging issues affecting them. This book shares some of their thoughts, opinions, dreams and aspirations.

Essay Contest for Children of African Descent 2009 by Lorna Jones (ed)

One look at the stories carried in the media and it is easy to remain pessimistic about the future of Africans across the world. Whether in the diaspora or on the Continent itself a common thread projecting bleak hopelessness appears to be the only future next generations have to look forward to. But this is not true. Whilst many apathetic elders may hold negative views of what is possible, its is many of the children who are set to be Africa’s future workers and leaders that will shape the path for what is to come.

Despite facing challenges many adults today would give up against, these children continue to aspire to fulfil the glorious destiny paved by the work of those Ancestors engaged in the transformative process of liberation and freedom. For them the future is not yet set.

This book highlights over fifty essays from contestants based in African nations such as Burkina Faso, Ghana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Uganda and the UK. Written in both English and French (with translations) the authors drawn from across Africa and the Diaspora discuss respect for their elders, parental love, the importance of studying science and technology, and even why traditional artefacts removed from Africa during colonial oppression should be returned. From examinations of the implication of Barack Obama being elected US President to the naming of the African statesperson they most admire.

It is difficult to read this book and not be inspired, and in some cases not feel ashamed for momentarily giving up with hope. Reading this book we are reminded why education remains the pedagogy of freedom, why literacy the lifeblood of liberation. There is a well known African saying, that ‘until the lion learns to write, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter’. Nowhere is that Ancestral proverb more accurate than in this book.

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