Be a man, 11-year-old tells the president

2011-10-07 08:05

President Jacob Zuma should “be a man” and manage the country wisely.

These are the words of 11-year-old Kgothatso Mathibe from Boikanyo Primary School in Garankuwa, who contributed to the book “Children’s letters to President Zuma” and read from it to loud laughter during an event yesterday at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

“Dear President Jacob Zuma, this country you are managing or leading is a great, rich, nice, kind and mostly pure beauty. So be a man and manage it wisely and kindly and give us the freedom of speech.

“And don’t be sad because your birthday is not popular like Nelson Mandela,” she said.

The book, which was presented to Zuma at the event, is a compilation of letters written by a group of learners from selected primary schools.

“Children’s letters to President Zuma” contains 165 letters from 165 children.

“Although these children come from a few selected primary schools, I have no doubt that their views represent those of other children in South Africa,” said Dr Mukanda Mulemfo, who edited the book.

He said minimum editing was done to the text. “I am convinced that the editing of the language hasn’t changed the message that the children intended to convey to you,” Mulemfo told the president.

While some of the letters elicited laughter and approval from guests, others highlighted the fears and concerns of the pupils have about crime.

Said 13-year-old Naomi Domingo: “One of the biggest worries is seeing the police vans parked at the police officers’ houses and shebeens during the times when they are needed for work.

“The people have had enough of these misdeeds and shall not be held responsible for what they might do to get things right,” Domingo said, adding that she felt her community’s complaints were falling on deaf ears.

Eleven-year-old Anjewayne Pillay offered Zuma a solution to the crime problem.

“My solution to crime is that the people who commit crimes should be talked to and make them to understand that they are not only harming the people they attacked, but also harm their family,” said Pillay.

Zuma said he was happy to hear the voices and views of young people.

“People think young people don’t realise or know what is happening around them,” he said, adding that he planned to buy several copies of the book for a number of his ministers.

Mathibe reminded the president to read the book himself. “Don’t just give it to your servants, please. It’s got great news please, please, please read it,” she said.

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