South Africa: Zenani Campaign to Address Children Killed On Roads
2 MAY 2012
Pretoria — A campaign to reduce the number of children killed and injured in road accidents and in memory of Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter, Zenani, was launched in New York on Wednesday.
Zenani Mandela was tragically killed in a car crash ahead of the 2010 World Cup, just two days after her 13th birthday.
The Zenani Campaign, led by her mother Zoleka Mandela and grandmother, Zindzi Mandela, will contribute to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety aimed at improving the levels of protection for children mainly in developing countries.
At the launch in New York City, the Mandela family was joined by South Africa's Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Speaking at the launch, Zindzi Mandela said: "In common with many people, I used to think that road casualties were just a tragic fact of life, about which nothing could be done. I did not ask how we can prevent this, what actions can we take. But so much can be done to save young lives.
"We can, and we must do much more to protect our children. Support the Zenani Campaign. Demand protection for children on the roads and let us ensure that in future, other families do not have to suffer the pain that my family has suffered."
Ndebele, who explained that the Zenani Mandela Campaign aims to protect children on the roads, and reduce the number of child road fatalities and injuries, said by 2015, road crashes will be the number one killer of children aged between 5 and 14 in Africa, outstripping Malaria and HIV.
"Pedestrians alone account for nearly 40 percent of road fatalities in our country annually," he said.
Two weeks ago, the South African Department of Transport, in partnership with Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics', the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the UN, officially launched the 'Think Pedestrian' campaign aimed at intensive road safety awareness and education programmes.
Bloomberg said every year almost 1.3 million people are killed and millions more injured on the world's roads and many of those victims were children. He said it was unacceptable.
"There's a strong and growing network of organisations working around the world to implement proven interventions including tougher speeding, seat-belt and helmet rules and an increase in safe school crossings and more footpaths.
"This campaign is yet another positive step forward in efforts to address this leading cause of death and save more lives," he said.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell, who had a close relationship with Zenani, said: "There are far too many children being killed 1 000 every day. The family will never get over the pain of her loss and we'll never get Zenani back.
"But she was such a positive little girl that she would have wanted to make a difference. In memory of Zenani Mandela I support this campaign. Lives can be saved and we need action right now."
F1 star Lewis Hamilton also gave his support: "Every three minutes a young child dies on the world's roads. I'm supporting the Zenani Campaign and the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety because we need action now to prevent more tragedies."
The campaign is also a Mandela Day initiative in honour of Nelson Mandela's birthday.