Every child is my child: Machel
Johannesburg - Former first lady Graca Machel called on South Africans to treat every child as their own on Wednesday.
"This campaign is a call to all South Africans young and old, rich and poor to say protect and care for a child in your family, your neighbourhood, your community," she said launching the Champions for Children campaign in Kempton Park.
"It's a call to ordinary people, to you and to me... You don't have to wait for an occasion to celebrate the wonder of life and joy and pleasure that children bring," she said.
"For the women and men running the shebeen, the child is yours... for the taxi owner, the child is yours... for the Sunday school teacher, the child is yours."
'Do the right thing'
"Please do the right thing. The child is yours. You are right to care."
Machel said her husband, former president Nelson Mandela was a champion for children because he challenged society to change the way it treated its children.
She said a massive effort was needed to do what was necessary to protect South African children.
"None of us should assume that someone else will step in," she said.
She urged South Africans to act if they suspected a child was being harmed in any way by anyone.
She said no-one should be afraid to report their concerns to the authorities.
South Africa and Africa were on the brink of welcoming a host of visitors for the 2010 World Cup.
Country with a soul
"We want them to know they are entering a country with a soul. There's no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children," she said.
Machel urged South Africans to create a movement which gave a voice and a face to the country's children.
"They deserve nothing less. Every child ... at every corner of our country must be accounted for," she said.
Machel said the campaign aimed to support those who had dedicated their lives to protecting children, and to ensure that every child was safe and protected at all times.
It would encourage children, parents, families and communities to participate in the fight against child abuse.