By: Monica Nyambura

This month we asked our members at Africa Kids Book Club to tell us in their own words what it means to be African. This was in preparation for the Africa day celebrations held annually on 25th May.

I was delighted to see that the children expressed themselves, verbally, artistically and also in writing. I would like to share a few responses.


From 6 year old Alexia, “Africa is a Maasai with a shuka” 

While 7-year-old Arthur said “Africa has culture”

Is it true that Africa is a country? 12-year-old Anita with a disapproving look on her face disagreed and confidently said “it is a continent with 55 independent countries”.

Mark, 13years, articulated himself very well in writing saying:

 “It is being patriotic towards being African. It is that you do not wish that you were from a different race or continent, but rather that you think about how to improve upon the negatives happening to Africa. It is that you do not look down upon Africa in favour of America or Europe or such-and-such. It is that you don’t favour corrupt actions over moral ones. 

Being African means not being embarrassed by Africa. Look at soccer. Much of Kenya’s youth today know about teams like Manchester City, and players like Kevin De Bruyne, and always know where teams rank in the EPL, but barely know a team like Harambee Stars exists. 

Being African is ensuring that whatever you do, it is to preserve the world, not to annihilate it; none of that ‘the end justifies the means’ thing. It involves using your resources for your and everyone’s benefit, not selfishly taking someone else’s. That is what I think being African is.”


“I represent the current young generation of a digital African is what 18-year-old,” Kanyua said.

As a kids reading club, we decided to focus on African literature from the very beginning because the gap of African knowledge was quite evident among the children. It would be our utmost joy and pride if the children wrote in their local languages and as we journey towards that, we introduced Kiswahili books that we read every quarter.

The African Union theme for 2021 is ‘“The Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.”

In the spirit of Africa Union’s and our 2021 theme “Embracing our African Culture” we are building an Africa that we want by nurturing a reading culture among children who will have vast knowledge of their continent and the world. With this knowledge, they are better placed to solve the challenges and enjoy the gains of the continent. 

We envision Africa through our members who will represent their generation because:

  • They are proud of their African heritage.
  • They can tell the African stories through creative channels.
  • They will solve our African challenges because it is their challenge.
  •  They will be transformative leaders in their respective areas of expertise.

We believe knowledge is power so we are bestowing power to the children through books so that they can build the Africa that they want.

Comments (3)

Great understanding of Africa from the kids! Thanks for this Monica.

Wow! Great work. Happy to see that our kids are very much aware of their continent and articulate the Africa they would love to be associated with.

So good to read about the kids’ perspectives on Africa and being African!

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