Taylor Ty-Juana / University of California, Los Angeles
Africa currently has tens of millions of street children roaming their cities, making it one of the leading regions in the world for children without homes. Because of the exponential growth street children over the past decade, the topic of street children has gained uncharted momentum in the world of academia. However, academics commonly project this segment of the population under the guise of helpless beings, while in reality, after nearly two years of observation, I have come to find from my research in Côte d’Ivoire, that street children are resilient, using their situation to forge a society for survival on their own. These children usually ranging from 6- 18 years of age, traverse urban spaces creating their own unique culture, composed of a structural hierarchy, a unique language, music and dance, games, and occupations.
I thereby propose a panel, which acknowledges and discusses the culture of street children in Africa. The panel will examine how these mobile communities may promote diversity and counter the culture of divisiveness, into which many of these children were born. Examples of such cultural diversity can be exhibited in their use and creation of the following cultural products: language, music, and dance. Through an examination of the aforementioned products of street children’s culture, the lens of helplessness is altered, offering a vantage, which realizes the resilience of their communities.
Taylor Ty-Juana / University of California, Los Angeles
Singing My Past, My Present, and My Future: Music and Memory among Street Children in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
After nearly two years of observation and research, I have come to find that street children are resilient, using their situation to forge a society for survival on their own. In the case of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, these children, usually ranging from 6- 18 years of age, traverse urban spaces creating their own unique culture, composed of a structural hierarchy, a unique language, music and dance, games, and occupations.
I thereby propose a paper, which investigates the music culture of street children in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The paper will examine how these mobile communities of children may promote diversity and counter the culture of divisiveness, which many of these children were born into. Through an examination of the cultural product of music in street children’s culture, the lens of helplessness is altered, offering a vantage, which realizes the resilience of their communities. Through observation, I have found that often times these children evoke their past, celebrate their presence, and create their future through music and dance.
Champy Muriel / LESC, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
“The Income of Bakoro”: Conquering Financial Autonomy On The Streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Despite the strong attention street children have aroused for more than three decades, academics still seem to hesitate between a normative perspective which considers the street as not being suited for children —who should therefore, both for moral and safety issues, immediately be retrieved from this dangerous environment— and a certain fascination for the creativity of these young individuals surviving in the face of adversity. Careful to avoid both the pitiful attitude my interlocutors rejected and the denial of their sufferings, I have chosen to ground my ethnography on the study of the “bakoromen” (a nouchi word the young Burkinabe sleeping on the streets use to call themselves) of Ouagadougou. Using their language prevented me from the biases of the category “street children” created by the development programs, offered an insight into street culture and enabled me to apprehend all “bakoroman”, whether they are ten years of age or forty-five. Listening to their words and following their practices, I also decided to focus on their active participation to the urban economy. Through begging, small activities in the informal sector, pickpocketing, robberies and drug dealing my six years of research showed that, despite its hardships, life on the streets offers a certain financial autonomy, and can thus participate in the recovery of their self-esteem and, eventually, to the respect of their families. As such, it both facilitates and endangers their pathway to resilience.
Kebe Fatou / LARTES (Laboratoire de Recherches sur les Transformations Economiques et Sociales)/IFAN Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar
Street Children and Youth in Dakar: Remarks on Family Ruptures and Reintegration
La problématique de l’enfance est un enjeu majeur en Afrique et au Sénégal en particulier. Le phénomène de société que constituent les enfants des rues est abordé différemment par les chercheurs. L’analyse de la situation familiale des enfants en rupture permet de soulever un ensemble de questions jusque là en suspens ou encore peu approfondies en ce qui concerne la problématique de la situation familiale des enfants avant la rupture familiale.
Cette recherche vise à renforcer les capacités de compréhension et d’analyse du phénomène par tous les acteurs concernés : Etat, pouvoirs publics, associations gestionnaires de services, Partenaires du développement, afin de pouvoir mieux penser, ou repenser, les Interventions, en termes de programmation d’actions et d’activités adaptées.
Cette recherche a privilégié la forme du témoignage à celle de l’analyse théorique. Elle interroge essentiellement la relation familiale des enfants et jeunes de la rue. Dans le cadre de cette recherche, les raisons ont, toutefois, été surtout explorées pour mieux mesurer les conséquences sur la relation familiale elle-même. Est-il possible de rompre la rupture ?
Cette recherche contribue à l’appréhension de la complexité du retour en famille, mais également de mieux mesurer les effets de la rupture dans le champ, communément nommé, de la réinsertion des enfants et jeunes de la rue.
Ngalle Denis Ndode / University of Antwerp
Street Children in Cameroon: Can They Hope for A Better Future?
There is a growing concern in the Cameroon that street children are helpless as their everyday life is characterised with poverty and exclusion from the society. The government has been working hard to get them out of the street and ameliorate their condition of life (Danpullo (2008:151-157). These children are also struggling in their own little way to make a better future for themselves, but their efforts are ruined by poorly focused government policy. Based on a review of recent research, the paper examines the measures been taken to rehabilitate street children in Cameroon, their own efforts to build a better future and the challenges they encounter.
The findings show that the efforts street children in Cameroon are doing to ensure their own survival in life cannot be underscored. The challenges they face are as a result of poorly designed policy and the stagnant economic situation that continue to push many into the circle of poverty. The paper suggests that what these children need is just a mere push to the efforts they are already making. The government should work together with parents and the community to rehabilitate street children, provide them better education, and job opportunities.
Di Napoli Pastore Marina / Federal University of Sao Carlos
The Culture of Playing as a Space of Resistance and Child Ownership
Studies involving the participation of children and their way of life have grown steadily. Childhood researches seek to understand the ways of being a child through the everyday and specific contexts of cultures to which they belong, seeking not universal childhood as normative. African children, in turn, are set forth as out of place, for not following standards and regulations imposed by European and North American childhoods. In order to change this paradigm, this article is to bring to the discussion the child be in a community located on the outskirts of a city of Mozambique, southern Africa. Narratives analyses were performed from an ethnographic work lasting five months in Matola, Mozambique to describe and discuss the relationships and dynamics of children’s socialization.
Mozambican children have tasks and responsibilities guided the social division of labor. Among its activities, be they domestic, community or school, there is space for play. The fun and laughter permeate the imagination and children’s worlds, producing ways of being, living and acting in the world. The play appears in this narrative as critical to develop and construction of knowledge and expertise aggregates the cultural and social values, and the accountabilities and relationships that children establish between peers and adults. Considerations: deconstructing the ways childhoods are imposed and provide breaks in its universalization are the challenges encountered