The Zoleka Mandela foundation urges community to take urgent action to stop the daily tragedy to preventable deaths and injuries on the roads. The Zoleka Mandela foundation Road safety is builds on the strengths of our people through skills development and community service aimed at assisting personal growth, volunteerism and accountability.Read more
Safe and healthy streets for Africa's children - Zoleka Mandela
The Zoleka Mandela foundation urges community to take urgent action to stop the daily tragedy to preventable deaths and injuries on the roads. The Zoleka Mandela foundation Road safety is builds on the strengths of our people through skills development and community service aimed at assisting personal growth, volunteerism and accountability.
She believe that these strengths lay the foundation for a positive future and help our people to become responsible citizens. Zenani, Zoleka’s daughter on her unfortunate and untimely passing was a tragedy shared by millions across the globe. In this very moment; the eyes of the world would turn to road safety and as a result, would recognize the horrific toll a road crash can really take.
"Safe and healthy streets for Africa's Children"
written in the "Step-Change" report.
As a daughter of Africa, as a campaigner, and as the bereaved mother of a child lost in a road traffic crash, I urge policymakers to read and act on this report.
The recommendations it contains are so obvious that even a child could tell you what needs to be done. And indeed children have told us. Six year olds told us that they needed a safe crossing to get to school; little ones asked why there were no footpaths to help them avoid traffic; school kids asked for action against speeding and drink driving. Perhaps we should listen to our kids. If children find the answers self-evident, why are our leaders not doing more? How can there be so little action?
Just over five years ago, my life was shattered. My world was destroyed. It only took seconds. My daughter, Zenani Mandela Jnr, had been a teenager for just one day. One moment, my little girl who was full of hopes and dreams and laughter was with us. And then, in the few seconds it takes to crash a car - she was gone. You watch your children grow, you see them start to make their own lives. You never imagine it could end so suddenly.
So, for Zenani; for every child in our great continent taken too soon in a road traffic crash; for the thousands who survive but suffer life-changing injuries: we must act.
At the UN in the new Global Goals, all our governments –including all Africa’s leaders - have now agreed a target to halve road deaths in the next five years. This target is simple, it is powerful, and it is highly ambitious. And yet, it is also achievable. My grandfather, Nelson Mandela, knew a bit about difficult challenges. As he famously said, “it always seems impossible, until it is done”. What lies in front of us may be difficult, but it is far from impossible. This is a man-made epidemic and we don’t need to look very far for the means to end it.
Zoleka Mandela addressing the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety.
In November 2015, in Brazil, I was honoured to open the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety, which brought together two thousand ministers, officials, road safety activists and public health professionals to plan partnerships and ideas for meeting SDG targets 3.6 and 11.2.
Speaking before an audience including many government ministers from Africa and across the world, I told them there was no excuse for inaction:
- All new cars meeting minimum UN standards by 2020 – no excuse;
- 100% seatbelt and motorcycle helmet use by 2020 – no excuse;
- At least three star safety on the highest risk roads by 2020 – no excuse;
- Lower speeds by all schools and residential areas – no excuse;
- Safe pavements and cycle lanes in all our cities – no excuse;
- A safe route to school for all our children – no excuse.
This report focuses in particular on the last three of these demands.
It calls for urgent action to provide footpaths on the 95% of high-speed roads used by pedestrians where there is no protection. It calls for urgent action to ensure safe at grade crossing points and traffic calming to reduce vehicle speeds. It calls for a policy reorientation by governments and donors alike to make the needs of the most vulnerable people the priority. We know this approach can work, and this report details some of the evidence.
I know it works from personal experience of joining with a great coalition of partners, local and global, to protect schoolchildren in South Africa. The demonstration projects we are implementing in Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal are proving that a focus on footpaths, safe crossings and tackling vehicle speed can transform the daily journey to and from school and dramatically reduce the exposure to risk of our children.
We know how to do this. Having these tools to prevent injury and suffering at our disposal and failing to use them constitutes a violation of our children’s rights. And it is incredible that such a violation is allowed to continue. This is not a society I want to live in. As a mother, I want a different future for my children, for all children.
That is why I am proud to be an ambassador for the new Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility, which brings together global leaders on child protection and sustainable mobility with regional and local practitioners. The core vision is simple and yet powerful: a safe and healthy journey to school for every child. It is a programme to protect our children on the roads, to tackle air pollution, to promote walking and cycling for healthier lives. It is a partnership to push for delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is an initiative for the health of future generations, for the right to an education, for the fight against poverty.
This is a social change movement that should inspire all of us: a movement for every child, on every journey. Let’s work together for a better Africa. Let’s make the change.
Global Road Safety Advocate