Children’s Agency and Development in African Societies

This book focuses on African childhood and youth within the context of development and socialization where children are expected to be moulded in the image of adults. In many African societies children are generally held as passive bearers of the demands of adults, regardless of the fact that they are often exposed to a multitude of challenges that originate from the capriciousness of those adults. However, buoyed by international conventions and national legislations that offer them greater protection, and the ubiquitous internet that exposes them to childhood and youth experiences elsewhere, many of them are increasingly becoming assertive in homes, schools, and communities as well as re-invigorating their survival and self-preservation instincts. It is in this regard that this book, through the various chapters, engages with their competencies, skills and creativity to respond to experiential challenges as independent migrants or ones under coercion working in city streets and markets or cocoa farms or juggling work and schooling in pursuit of some education. Confronted with their parents’ and siblings’ health predicaments and the inadequacies of state and familial care, or urgent negotiation of their sexualities, they demonstrate incredible resilience. Similarly, their perceptiveness is demonstrated in a unique appreciation of politics and its actors and a capacity to assume responsibilities beyond their chronological age. Thus while highlighting some of the challenges confronting African children, the book provides gripping evidence of how they resiliently negotiate those challenges.



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