Graca Machel to launch children’s campaign

2009-12-09 11:10

Graca Machel, the wife of former president Nelson Mandela, is

expected to launch the Champions for Children campaign in Kempton Park

today.

The campaign is aimed at stirring communities into action to

protect children.

“Communities must take charge. The things we do that put our

children at risk, we are to blame for these things,” said programme director of

the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Moipone Buda-Ramatlo.

She urged parents not to leave their children in the care of

strangers. “Communities have changed. We cannot assume anymore that the next

person cares that much,” Buda-Ramatlo said, explaining that the campaign was

about ensuring all community members were held accountable for keeping children

safe and for caring for them.

“You read in the paper that a seven-year-old was raped in your

community... what did you do about it? It’s eerily silent,” she said.

The media did not play its part either and did children a

disservice by constantly focusing on the victims.

“We see interviews in newspapers with child victims, these include

pictures of them but pictures of perpetrators are never seen,” she said.

The World Cup could exacerbate the problem of child abuse but it

was up to parents and communities to ensure this did not happen.

“When the World Cup comes and goes, it must not leave casualties,”

she said.

Maria Matsebe, a young girl from a children’s home, relayed a

moving poem about what was happening to children today.

“How do you call yourself a father when you rape... do you call

yourself a dad? You’re not a dad, you’re a monster,” she said.

In an introduction to her poem, Matsebe said it was sad to hear the

plight of South African children.

She told how image was more important to many parents than their

children.

“I don’t need your money... I don’t need your car, I need your

love,” she said.


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