Main Article Content

Kammila Naidoo


I was delighted to open the conference on ‘Violence Against Children’ organized by the Department of Religion Studies, at the University
of Johannesburg, in partnership with the New Testament Society of Southern Africa (NTSSA). I am extremely pleased that a special issue on the topic has been produced so briskly. Although there is currently much work being done on violence, there is insufficient interdisciplinary and collaborative work on how violence configures the lives of children in Southern African countries. One does not hear of conferences on children or children’s rights as often as one might hear about initiatives on other compelling topics. This coming together of scholars to reflect on the experiences and lived realities of children – and, on the theme of children
and violence – is exciting and timely.

Currently, there are more than 2 billion children in the world, with the highest proportion living in sub-Saharan Africa. By the middle of this century, more than 40 percent of children younger than 5 years will be resident here. It is often pointed out that a child’s life chances are shaped by the place of birth, year of birth, and privileges of the natal familial context – in this regard, class, race, nationality, regionality, and gender are some of the key predictors of a child’s future. Many countries face entrenched inequalities and disparities, thus economic, sociopolitical,
cultural, religious, and communal factors often have considerable and defining impacts on a child’s future well-being and success. Interventions
to create equality of opportunities and mitigate inherited disadvantages have been considerable. Despite government and civil society efforts, the
situation of children today remains dire. This is distressing to note for all who work in this field and who acknowledge that a country’s future stability, growth, and development, are inextricably linked to the ways in which this youngest cohort is treated, catered for, inspired, and afforded economic, social, and educational opportunities.

Article Details