STREAM: Raising Children in Times of Hardship

STREAM: Raising Children in Times of Hardship

Raising children is a significant challenge. Throughout their child-rearing career, most parents/guardians are, at some stage, confronted with the very fundamentals of existence, survival, identity and culture. Raising children is also a political endeavour, as parents/guardians are implicated in, indeed responsible for, shaping future generations, societies and cultures. Despite the central position of the family in most African societies, many people across the continent face the challenges of raising children in times of acute hardship. Displacement, violence and conflict, natural disasters (such as floods, droughts, landslides or volcano eruptions), political instability, poverty, HIV/AIDS and other incurable diseases, alcohol/drug abuse, single-parent families, and child-headed families are among the issues affecting hundreds of thousands of people raising children in Africa. Moreover, the longer-term trauma caused by colonial and neo-colonial identity destruction continue to affect the lives of African people and families. As most postcolonial theorists agree, the legacy of colonialism is more than economic difficulty but also indelible social, cultural and psychological wounds. In some countries, colonial identity destruction has resulted in conflict, genocide and/or other collective traumatic experiences. Raising children after such calamities raises questions about intergenerational trauma, societal reconstruction, peace and reconciliation, and the future.

Panel examples

This stream welcomes panels and papers that address the topic of raising children in times of hardship, across a range of African contexts. Suggested themes include (but are not limited to) identity, conflict and violence, intergenerational trauma, gender, colonialism and post-colonialism, poverty, HIV/AIDS, future generations/societies.

Confirmed panels.

  1. Ensuring a ‘Proper Childhood’ in West Africa 
  • Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, The Impact of the Colonial State’s Education Strategies on Childrearing
  • Dr Robert Kwame Ame, The Origins of the Contemporary Juvenile Justice System in Ghana
  • Saheed Aderinto, Patriotic Children: Empire Day and Notions of Proper Colonial Childhood in Nigeria
  1. Raising Rwanda’s Next Generation: Parenting, Childhood and the Future
  • Lakin, Samantha, Stigma in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Memory Transmission Among Vulnerable Youth
  • Williamson Sinalo, Caroline and Irakoze, Claver, Parenting, Disclosure and Intergenerational Trauma: Exploring Disclosure Practices among Rwandan Parents
  • Irakoze, Claver, and Williamson Sinalo, Caroline, Raising Rwanda’s next Generation: Exploring the Issues through Personal Experience
  1. Child labour in Africa  (panel ID 880, we don’t yet have paper IDs as the abstracts have only been sent to us by email)
  • Fagunwa, Temitope Christopher, Child Labour in Colonial Lagos: The Menace of Social Inequality in an African City, 1945 – 1960 
  • Zollmann, Jakob, African Child Labour and Violence On Labour Policies in German South West Africa, ca 1890 to 1918
  • Martins, Pedro, Activism, International Organizations and National Policies on Child Labour/Labour Standards. The Case of Portugal and Portuguese Africa
  1. Motherhood in times of Hardship
  • Mahamba, Barbara, ‘Bring up a child in the way you would like him to live’, Motherhood and childhood in Harari township Salisbury, 1907-1965
  • Markwei, Ummu, A qualitative study of the role of divorce on child sexual abuse in Ghana
  • G’sell, Brady, Performing Motherhood: Managing Precarity and Moral Panic in South Africa 
  1. Raising children, reinventing identity
  • Okello, Belindah, What’s in A Name? Reinventing Luo Naming System in Kenya’s Ethnopolitical Space 
  • Youssef, Loubna, “Decolonizing” the Minds of Children in Egypt and South Africa 
  • Hoechner, Hannah, Connections, cash, and ‘cultural capital’: transnational return migrants as educational entrepreneurs in Dakar, Senegal 
  • TSUKUDA, Hitomi, Tanzanian Education Policies from British Administration to the Present: Cognizance of Community and Citizenship 
  1. Hardship through the child’s eyes
  • Hamzah, Adeyemi, Kamil, Prevalence Of Poverty And Street Children In Kano Metropolis, Northwestern, Nigeria, 1999-2016 
  • Melek Delgado, Erika, Liberated African Children: Childhood Experiences in the Crown Colony of Sierra Leone, c. 1808-1834 
  • Laurent, Caroline, D., Violence, or the Memory of Childhood in Gaël Faye’s Petit Pays

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Caroline Williamson, University College Cork ( , Maja Haals Brosnan, London School of Economics ( , Claver Irakoze, Aegis Trust (  For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website 

Photo credit: Maja Haals

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