Zoleka Mandela leads Long Short Walk for Zenani and world’s children

rsw_africa_01Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Zoleka Mandela, has led a Long Short Walk event in Johannesburg South Africa, together with her family.

Other members of the family led Long Short Walk activities around the world. Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Her Excellency Zenani Dlamini the South African Ambassador to Argentina, represented the campaign at the Iberoamerican Road Safety Summit in Buenos Aires. Kweku Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela led a Long Short Walk in Washington DC.

The Mandela family’s Long Short Walk was carried out in memory of Zenani Mandela who was killed in a car crash aged 13. It supported the call for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals to include a target for combating road injury.

Zoleka Mandela, Zenani’s mother, had contributed to the Commission for Global Road Safety’s ‘Safe Roads for All’ report launched during UN Global Road Safety Week, and ahead of the Johannesburg Long Short Walk event.

The Long Short Walk, an initiative of the Commission’s Make Roads Safe campaign and led by Zoleka Mandela and her family, is calling for road safety to be part of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals framework. This would include a specific global fatality reduction goal of 50% by 2030.

Speaking at the Long Short Walk event in Johannesburg, Zoleka Mandela said: “This week, all around the world people have taken to the streets as we launched the Long Short Walk. There has been a huge wave of support globally. People are getting up on their feet, and they are demanding action. In so many countries worldwide people are showing our world leaders that they have had enough. We can no longer neglect this global crisis which destroys so many young lives. Let’s make sure road safety is in the post-2015 development goals and let’s save lives.”

The Mandela family’s Long Short Walk which involved over 250 people, was held at St. Stithians College, the school that Zenani attended. Joining the family were the classmates of Zenani Mandela and other pupils at St. Stithians. Children from other schools and communities joined the Johannesburg Long Short Walk. They included students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy and children from the SOS Children’s Village near Pretoria who have been campaigning with the Long Short Walk and came to support the Mandela family and St. Stithians.

Dr. Sarah Barber, South Africa Representative of the World Health Organisation also walked with the Mandela family. She said: “The solutions are well known, measurable and proven. They are also very simple. We know exactly what’s needed: speed limits and drink driving legislation to be enforced, safe crossings for pedestrians, a safe environment for children going to school and effective education campaigns. We hope that UN Global Road Safety Week and The Long Short Walk will help build momentum for these life saving measures. Our goal is safe roads for all.”

Her Excellency Ambassador Zenani Dlamini delivered her speech to the Iberoamerican Road Safety Summit held in Buenos Aires on the same day as the Johannesburg Long Short Walk.

She said: “Today in Johannesburg my family led a ‘Long Short Walk’. Our walk was a call for action to save lives. And it was to honour the memory of the little girl who shares my name – Zenani Mandela. My beautiful niece, Zenani, was a teenager for just two days when she was killed. Her life should have just been beginning. But in a matter of seconds, it ended.

“In the next few months, the Governments of the United Nations will decide the priorities for sustainable development post-2015. Road traffic injury prevention must be included in this agenda. If we are serious about saving lives, there must be international support. Worldwide, we can follow the leadership shown by Argentina. But in order to do this road safety must become an international priority.”
Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela spoke at the UN Global Road Safety Week event in Washington DC organised by the Make Roads Safe campaign. He said:

“My grandfather, Nelson Mandela, has fought his entire life for human rights, freedom and equality for everyone in South Africa and the world. Now, as a result of the tragedy that befell our family three years ago, and in the name of Zenani, we have a new fight – a fight for the right of young people around the world to walk, bike, and drive safely.

“Road safety should be recognized as a human right. And our children’s right to safe mobility and a safe environment is already accepted in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We have a collective duty to protect our children and youth from the unnecessary pain and suffering caused by road traffic injuries.”

The Make Roads Safe report, Safe Roads for All, calls for road safety to t be recognised and included in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals framework. This should include a specific global fatality reduction goal of 50% by 2030, as measured from the 2007-2010 baseline data provided by World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013. This would be consistent with the current goal of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, to ‘stabilise and then reduce’ global road traffic fatalities by 2020.

Long Short Walk campaign activities are being supported by communities, civil society organisations and members of the public around the world to call for road safety to be included in the post-2015 framework.

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