Mandela says children should have a say

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- South African former President Nelson Mandela took part in the ongoing Children's Parliament at the Eskom Convention Centre in Midrand, outside Johannesburg Monday, saying Children should be allowed to speak for themselves.
"One of the rights of children should be to let them talk for themselves.
Guiding children is different from patronising them," Mandela added.
The Children's Parliament has been running for three days, giving 500 children from all backgrounds the opportunity to express themselves and discuss issues that affect them.
The former South African President also inaugurated a garden of vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants, underscoring the need to heal the nation, in line with the theme for the day "Healing.
" Aphiwe Khapha, an 11-year-old, said he was very happy to speak with Mandela: "It was fun," he added.
B J van Schalkwyk, 15, said seeing Mandela in person made her listen more carefully to what he said.
"It made me feel that the children really are the future.
" Mandela said he was concerned by the impact of poverty, violence and HIV/AIDS on children.
Children, who had the least to do with creating these problems, were often the most severely affected, he said.
Mandela also talked about his experience with prostrate cancer, and his insistence on being treated in South Africa.
"When I die, if I ever die, then they can take my corpse to the United States.
If they (Americans) are so good, they can wake me up again," he teased.

03 november 2003 16:54:00




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