Messages to Government from the Efeng Bacha Members
By Dr Stanley Maphosa
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) is presenting a message of support as part of the closing ceremony for the 2022 Child Protection Week (CPW) that is being held on the 05 June 2022 in King Cetshwayo District Kwa-Zulu Natal, under the theme “Let us All Protect children during COVID-19 and Beyond. The closing ceremony is held in Nhlabane, a rural community outside Richard’s Bay. The focus of Child Protection Week this year from the government point of view was targeting provinces and district with the highest number of children who were pregnant. The official opening ceremony for this campaign week was held in in OR Tambo District, Ingquza Hill, Lusikisiki Eastern Cape on the 29 May 2022. Prior to the opening and closing ceremony, roundtable discussions were held at the OR Tambo District and Zululand District to assess level of interventions and programmes that are currently being provided by various stakeholders who are both government and non-government organisations to address teenage pregnancy.
The Statistics South Africa report, recorded that 34 587 teenagers gave birth in 2020. This is a cause for concern for the Fund, its partners and likeminded organisations in South Africa. This requires a concerted effort by all key stakeholders in government and non-government sector including children, parents, caregivers, families and community at large to address the issues of teenage pregnancies. The unacceptably high levels of teenage pregnancy in South Africa manifests as the infringement on the rights of the girl child as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and other legislations, policies and guidelines. In addition to that, teenage pregnancies pose health risks for the mothers, their babies, their families as well as the communities. Teenage mothers are more susceptible to medical, social and emotional problems, in comparison to their adult mothers counterparts. The high rates of teen pregnancy also affect the communities and society's welfare as they increase the rate of school dropout, decrease graduation rates, and increase unemployment rate. The prevention programmes addressing the problem of teenage pregnancies would most amongst others, contribute to promotion and protection of the rights of the girl child, ensuring gender equity, reduce school dropout and curb the poverty cycle.
During the Child Protection Week commemoration the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund joined the National Department of Social Development and the Provincial Department of Social Development in Kwa Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape, the University of Zululand, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Implementing Partners in the entire nine province and other strategic partners.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) is an advocacy development agency and a leading champion for the general well-being of children, founded in 1995 by the former statesman Mr. Nelson Mandela. The Fund strives to change the way society treats its children and youth. This long-term vision captures the central role society plays in shaping children’s lives.
NMCF’s Child Safety and Protection Programme aims to create protective environments that prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, and violence against children in households, and schools, and other spaces, including digital, where they live, learn and play. Furthermore, the Programmes also seeks to improve access to rights and safe, protective care for children (all persons under the age of 18) in South Africa.
Despite the comprehensive legislative framework promoting children’s rights and aiming to prevent child abuse and neglect, recently reported increases in child murders, attempted murders, and kidnappings, coupled with poverty-induced vulnerabilities, indicate that child safety and protection programming is critical to ENSURING South Africa’s children develop and thrive.
As a country South Africa commemorates, National Child Protection Week annually, to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and Children’s Act (Act No. 38 of 2005). This year the week timelines are from 29th May to 05th June 2022.
The current NMCF Strategic Objectives:
SO1: Empower families and communities to adequately care (healthcare, safety, nutrition, education, economic position, basic services) for their children and youth.
SO2: Create platforms to amplify the voices of children and youths
SO3: Address and influence government shortfalls in relation to children and youth (advocacy and lobbying
SO4: Create a collaborative environment to amplify the impact of NMCF on children and youth through strategic partnerships
Children’s Sessions at The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital
Engaging with the children aligns with strategic objective – Create platforms to amplify the voices of children and youths. The Child Safety and Protection Unit is convening sessions with children, to be able to meaningfully take part and express their perspectives on being safe and protected. These insights will inform our interventions, and strengthen future communication being more representative of children’s views and experiences. The children who are also patients of NMCH represent as fairly under-represented, often excluded sub-population of children; those living with and managing serious illness.
23By the Child Safety & Protection team
“Our Children are Our Greatest Treasure they are Our Future. Those who Abuse Them Tear at the Fabric of Our Society and Weaken our Nation”. - Nelson Mandela
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) strives to Change the Way Society Treats its Children and Youth. The Fund’s mission is to be an African Rights Based Movement recognising the dignity and wellbeing of children. The National Child Protection Week is observed in the country to raise awareness of the rights of children as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Fund’s commitment to promoting safe environments for children, families and communities is a responsibility mandated by the founder Mr Mandela. He believed that the Fund can help build a society where children can be free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and any form of violence. To the Fund, Child Protection Week goes beyond the days of observation. It is the day to day efforts to create protective environments that prevent and respond to abuse, neglect and violence against children in households, schools and other spaces where they play, live and learn. In order to enable all children from birth 0 to 23 the ability to be safe, develop and thrive in their livelihoods.
Despite the efforts, commitments and promises made through the international, regional and domestic instruments. Children continue to suffer violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation every day, making them the most vulnerable members of our society. It is in the collaborations, influence, knowledge and attitudes to do better. To enable those responsible, communities and families to have better capacity of care for the well-being of children.
It is against this backdrop that the Fund calls upon all civil society organisations, governments, businesses, parents, and duty bearers to fulfil children’s rights including those to protection. The call for protection depends on a global movement in which everybody understands and respects their duties to children, but also acts upon them to fulfil this reality.
Ahead of Child Protection Week, which runs from 29 May to 5 June, South Africa’s largest volunteering platform forgood.co.za is calling on South Africans to donate toiletries, toys, and games to child-focused causes. To simplify the donation process, the platform has launched a dedicated online campaign that connects locals to a selected non-profit organisation (NPO) in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban – giving everyone an opportunity to improve the lives of children in need.
“Lots of South Africans want to make a difference but aren’t sure where to start. That’s where we come in. With this campaign, we’re making it easy and convenient for locals in the three locations to make donations for Child Protection Week. We’ve already vetted the causes on your behalf and set up the drop-off points – all you need to do is show up with your donations in hand,” says Romy Heldsinger, CEO at forgood.
As part of their Child Protection Week campaign, forgood has selected three verified causes. If you are looking to donate, you can visit the platform and select a cause based on where you live, or the location closest to you. You will be asked to indicate what you are donating, as well as the date and time you intend to drop off the items.
“We specifically chose education-focused non-profits for this campaign because they have a significant reach in terms of the number of children they can assist. Additionally, we recognise the importance of learning from an early age when it comes to setting children up for success later on in life,” says Heldsinger.
The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital are working with Forgood to assist in collecting donations. You can visit the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital reception to drop off donations to assist in this initiative.
For more information contact Agnes Kambira on Agnesk@nmcf.co.za
By Stanley Maphosa
During the week of 16 to 20 May 2022, the Government of South Africa will host the Fifth Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour together with the International Labour Organization (ILO). This Global Conference will take place in Durban, Kwazulu Natal Province. The conference will build on four previous Global Conferences, in Buenos Aires (2017), Brasilia (2013), The Hague (2010) and Oslo (1997). These landmark events raised the issue on the political agenda, mobilised resources and set the strategic direction for the worldwide movement against child labour.
South Africa is hosting of the fifth conference in line with Sustainable Development Target 8.7. This focuses on the elimination of child labour in all its forms by 2025 and the eradication of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 also aims to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”. The Conference will be attended by head of states, 120 ministers, and tripartite constituents of 187 member countries of ILO, United Nation agencies, academic institutions, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, media and civil society.
The key areas of child labour that will be discussed will be in the following areas
Child Participation at the fifth Global Conference on the elimination of child labour
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, UNICEF and Save the Children will join the Department of Social Development, Department of Basic Education and Offices for the Rights of Children in nine provinces to ensure that children are afforded an opportunity to express their views on the global fight against child labour. The Department of Employment and Labour and the ILO are the main hosts of the conference, the Department of Basic Education will play a leading role in this conference. Dr Stanley Maphosa, the Chief Programs Officer and Ms Zamajozi Sithole the Program Officer for the Youth Leadership Program will represent the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
The partners who will be facilitating and coordinating the conference consider children as respected partners in development and advocacy. As such, child participation will contribute to a more democratic and equitable engagement that would assist jointly for children and adults to make informed decisions on recommendations and resolutions from this all-important global conference. To that extent, children from all member States will be mobilised to attend a parallel session physically and virtually. Thirty children from South Africa, with a mix of Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament 2019 and 2021 Executive members, children from the farming, mining, trafficking, sexual exploitation, domestic sectors will attend physically. Fifty other children will be mobilised from the five ILO Regions globally. The participation of children in this manner will set a precedent for other such engagements to include and consult with children as the primary stakeholders and not only as the subjects of the engagements.
Objectives of Child Participation
Dr Stanley Maphosa with the Nelson Mandela Children's Parliament Ambassadors at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour.
By Dr Stanley Maphosa, NMCF Chief Programmes Officer
Freedom Day celebrates and commemorates the first democratic elections that were held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. These elections were the first post-apartheid national elections that were held in South Africa where anyone could vote regardless of race. Although the country has made remarkable progress since 1994, the triple challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment the most glaring impediments to the country’s goal of national unity and social cohesion. The commemoration comes at a time when about 65.5 % youths are unemployed. With challenges in Mathematics and Science in schools, there is a systematic exclusion of youths in the jobs of today and of tomorrow. While youths are encouraged to start entrepreneurship initiatives and businesses, there is a general lack of support for capital and sustainability of those businesses. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, various jobs and businesses that were started by youth have been affected.
The South African politics needs to be youthful. The participation of youth in decision making will enable young people to take charge of their lives as key agents of social and economic transformation. Participation is beyond just attending rallies, conferences and events but youth being centred and mainstreamed in all decisions of society. Besides the youth, the Fund works to improve child mortality and curb crimes committed towards children. The death of children before they reach the age of 5 continues to happen in various districts in the country. This happens despite the great policies in place. There is still sexual gender based violence towards children, corporal punishment in schools and bullying that is rife. All these issues affecting children and youth need to be addressed by all the members of society for a better future of this country.
We dare not forget the terrible past from which we have come and educate the children and youths as we commemorate this day. We also remember the many sacrifices that were made by various patriots including youths to ensure the democracy and freedom we enjoy. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has the history, legacy and voice to continue to remind society to treat change the way it treats its children and youth as we move to 29 years of independence in 2023.
As we close the first quarter of the fifth anniversary of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH), we would like to update our global community of donors, supporters and partners on our hospital’s progress.
Now, the only dedicated children’s hospital in Gauteng and the second in the Southern Africa region, Mr Nelson Mandela’s vision of improving access to healthcare for children will reach yet another milestone.
After officially admitting its first patients on 21 June 2017, the 220-specialist facility operates as a non-profit, academic hospital which provides services to children regardless of their ability to pay. A majority of its services are focused on serving public patients who have limited access to healthcare services.
The hospital is slowly growing its private practice in line with its mixed model of fundraising supported by robust fundraising efforts by its founder, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
NMCH offers the following medical, surgical and supporting services: Cardiology (Interventional and Diagnostic), Renal (including Dialysis), ENT (Ear Nose and Throat), General Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Neurology and Orthopaedic Surgery. These services are supported by the Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Units, Radiology and Anaesthesia.
To strengthen and grow its academic affiliation and training capacity, the hospital has also signed academic agreements with the following universities in the past year: University of Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg.
Whilst Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, an adverse impact on activities at the hospital with a staff complement of just over 300, over 11 300 admissions were received at NMCH in the past financial year.
NMCH also started the year with a new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Nonkululeko Boikhutso and Chief Financial Officer, Ms Margaret Amofa who were both officially appointed by the NMCH Board of Directors in December 2021.
Dr Boikhutso will lead the new strategy for the next five-year period which includes positioning NMCH to offer high quality and distinctive market-responsive pediatric health services in South Africa and the broader African continent.
The hospital has also focused on greening efforts with the aim of saving water and electricity at the state-of-the-art facility, an ongoing project which will ensure the environmental sustainability of this facility, for generations to come.
The hospital will commemorate its birthday various activations leading up to June and July, widely known as International Mandela Month.
In April for instance, the hospital will take a moment to commemorate the sterling work by emergency response teams who responded to the devasting fire at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (approximately 200 metres from NMCH) which resulted in the evacuation of over 100 neonatal babies and their families to NMCH.
Our community will continue to receive regular updates during this special period, leading to the birthday celebrations.
We would like to thank all our donors, partners, supporters, staff, patients and families who have been with us on this journey and as we look forward to marking this great milestone.
For more information contact:
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
Specialist: Communications and Marketing
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
Telephone: 011 274 5600
The roots of Human Rights Day in South Africa historically stem from the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960. A crowd estimated of 7,000 people protested peacefully to the Sharpeville police station, opposing the Pass Laws. Police officers opened fire resulting in 69 people dying and 180 injured. A moment in time in our history, signified a highpoint in our newly democratic country. Today, we commemorate the 21st of March as Human Rights Day to serve as a reminder of our rights as well as the lives that paved the way for our democracy.
This year commemorates the 25th year of the adaption of the Constitution. The South African Constitution encompasses the rights of all persons living in South Africa, affirming the humanness, dignity, equality and freedom of all in our democracy. In 1994 during the South African general election, our Constitution was drawn up by the democratically elected Parliament. In 1996, it was then propagated by President Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville and came into full effect on the 4th of February 1997. It is important to note that no other law or government action can supersede the provisions of the Constitution.
Founding the Children’s FundOne evening in Cape Town, before South Africa’s first democratic election in April 1994, Nelson Mandela was set to attend a meeting when he was stopped by a group of twenty children. His security guards tried to stop them from getting closer because they were dirty and ragged, but Mandela refuted, insisting that these were the children he wanted to see and speak to. The children asked him, “why do you love us?”, to which he asked, “how do you know that I love you?”. The children then responded, “because when you got money from overseas, you gave it to us”. The money in which the children were referring to, was the Nobel Peace Prize money that Mandela had donated to charities centred on children. This encounter stayed with Mandela. “I kept on seeing their faces, so young and yet already so old because of life on the streets. That is when I conceived the idea of a children’s fund, dedicated to the needs and aspirations of our youth.” He decided that this Fund had to react urgently to the immediate needs of the children such as those he had met that one evening. He went on to pledge one-third of his salary to the Fund and began fundraising.
Children’s Manifesto 2019 Section 28 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution states that “every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, health care and social services, as well as the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation”.
From the 22nd to the 24th of February 2019, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament of 2017 and 2018, and the Efeng Bacha Advisory Committee held a meeting in Gauteng Province. The purpose of this meeting was to create a South African Children’s manifesto that spoke to the full incorporation of Section 28 of the Constitution. The Manifesto serves as a child-centred approach, prioritising the rights, responsibilities and well-being of children. It is a call to political parties, government officials, state owned enterprises, businesses, labour, social movements and civil society to engage and adopt this approach for the betterment of the children of South Africa.
This Children's Manifesto aims to address issues that are affecting our children in South Africa under the following priority areas:
The Importance of the Rights of Children and the plight of human rights in South Africa birthed our democracy. Within our human rights, come the rights of our children. Crafted by our youth, it is evident that the Children’s Manifesto is the handiwork of our children and our future as a country. The youth are aware of their human rights as well as their contribution to society hence their voices need to be heard. Moreover, their interests must be protected, that is why the Fund was founded. Mandela envisioned a society in which children are treated with the utmost respect. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure that such efforts are strengthened, aiming at repairing the ravaged fabric of our youth’s social and economic circumstances. We, at the Fund promote the success of projects bringing immediate relief, giving a voice and dignity to our youth by building a rights-based movement for the youth, by the youth.
Dignity, Mutual Respect and Equality are key elements to the fundamental rights of all humanity.
By Bontle Lekgoathi - Child Safety & Protection Programme
As we celebrate March as the month of Rights, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not only affirm these but proclaims as core rights of all humanity. The UN member states recognises March 21st as the national day of commemoration of Human Rights. The month of March commemorates many rights, including the International day of Women’s Rights on the 08th March. In 2022, this also marked the invasion of Russia to Ukraine.
Article 1, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity, respect and rights.” These are not for some people but all people. The recent invasion of Ukraine must remind us why every life matters. As the war continues the greater question is who is speaking on behalf of the children in the middle of this invasion?
The objectives of the United Nations Convention (UNCRC), is provision, protection and participation of children in matters that affect them, it is the cornerstone of the articles as a living and breathing guide the work of The Fund.
The right to life as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls upon all humanity to undertake what it means to be human, the mutual respect for everyone, the equality for all and dignity of all. “To recognize that ALL LIFE MATTERS” This is an indictment to all humanity young and old to Protect, Preserve and Promote the safety and the value of life. These are values that former president Mr. Mandela believed in.
As enshrined in the South African Constitution, (Act 108 of 1996) that all life that lives in the country belongs to it. United in our diversity South Africa is home to many stateless children are equally entitled to the same rights as all. The violence perpetrated against foreign nationals, with the recent protest of Operation Dudula in Alexandra and Soweto. South Africa must guard it’s humanity.
 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, page 1, December 1948,
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