Children in South Africa part of the decision Blind Child Rights Hero honoured by millions of children for his work

Today it was revealed that Manuel Rodrigues, a blind child rights activist from Guinea-Bissau, has been selected to receive the child rights award, The World’s Children’s Prize (WCP), often called the ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’ by the global media. This is the result of the Global Vote, by millions of children around the world. Manuel was honoured in recognition of his work for children with disabilities, who face being kept hidden or abandoned to die.

Since the launch in 2000, a total of 40,6 million children have participated in the World’s Children’s Prize programme, the world’s largest annual educational initiative for children on rights and democracy.

Two other child rights activists, 90-year-old Rosi Gollmann, from Germany, and Molly Melching, from the USA and Senegal, are also being honoured today. Rosi Gollman’s work includes rescuing tens of thousands of girls in India from being killed at birth, and Molly Melching has led pioneering initiatives to tackle female genital cutting and child marriage in West Africa. Both receive the World’s Children’s Honorary Award.

Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (the latter two, posthumously).

 Today, Åsa Regnér, Sweden’s Minister for Children, became a new patron. Others who have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons include the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven.

In Guinea-Bissau, it is hard for children with disabilities to go to school. Many have been kept hidden away, or abandoned to die. Through Manuel’s work, however, both attitudes and legislation are changing rapidly, so that children with different abilities can grow up in safety, attend school, and have a good life.

Manuel was one of the three nominees for the award, nominated by a child jury whose members are experts on the rights of the child, through their own life experiences as refugees, slaves and soldiers, amongst others.

Prize laureates honoured in Sweden

All three nominees for the award were honoured at a ceremony today at Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred, Sweden, where children from 15 countries were assisted by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in presenting the prizes. The prize money, totalling SEK 700,000, is split between this year’s child rights hero (SEK 350,000) and the two honorary award laureates (SEK 175,000 each) and is to go towards the prize laureates’ work with children.

Abatsha, a young band from Cape Town, South Africa, played at the WCP Ceremony. Five of the band members are pupils at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where the World’s Children’s Prize programme is implemented annually, and where the band members and other pupils are trained as WCP Child Rights Ambassadors. Band members are: Simbongile Sam, Zintle Kati, Aerin Van den Bergh, Deaviah Moodley, Vuyisani Mkwambi, Athenkosi Halu, Bonga Hatana and Clayton Seas.

 More info and press photos at worldschildrensprize.org/media

 Empowering vulnerable children

The majority of the millions of children who participate in the programme live in countries affected by poverty and conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Through the WCP programme, they have learned that they have rights and have been able to make their voices heard, many for the first time.

The WCP is supported by almost 70,000 schools in 115 countries, and by over 750 organisations, institutions and departments of education. Since the launch of the programme, half a million teachers have been trained to teach their pupils about children’s rights and democracy in their schools.

Global legends as patrons

Many public figures have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons, including the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Today, the Swedish Minister for Children, Åsa Regnér, became a new patron. South African patrons also include the late Ahmed Kathrada, Dr Iqbal Survé and the singer, Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela.

We are behind the World’s Children’s Prize
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF) is supported by donors including the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), Forum Syd, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, Care about the Children (H.M. Queen Silvia’s foundation) and the Survé Family Foundation (part of Survé Philanthropies).

Contact in South Africa

Marlene Winberg: marlene.winberg@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. 083 392 5153

Contact in Sweden
Carmilla Floyd: carmilla.floyd@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. +46-709-507407

Magnus Bergmar: magnus.bergmar@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. +46-705-155839

More information and press images at worldschildrensprize.org/media-room

ANNOUNCEMENT: SENIOR APPOINTMENT AT INDEPENDENT MEDIA

PRESS RELEASE

The Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé, is pleased to announce the appointment of Howard Plaatjes as Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Independent Media.

Plaatjes, who currently holds the position of Group Executive: Trading Performance and Operations, joined Independent Media in August 2013.  During this time, he was responsible for overseeing the alignment of the company’s printing, distribution and circulation operations with a focus on optimizing efficiencies and cost saving.  Plaatjes was also responsible for establishing and monitoring performance reporting systems and participated in the development and co-ordination of operating budgets and strategic plans.

“In the evolving media environment, Howard’s penchant for risk assessment and building turnaround strategies is going to be critical to ensure that Independent Media achieves its growth strategy.  I have every confidence in Howard and wish him success with his new portfolio,” said Dr Survé.

Commenting on his promotion, Plaatjes said that he was inspired and encouraged by the entrepreneurial approach and strategy of Independent Media.  “I look forward to working with the experienced team members as well as the energy of the many talented young people who have joined our organization over the past 18 months.  Together we will work towards transforming Independent Media into the leading content provider on the Continent,” said Plaatjes.

Recently, Plaatjes was at the helm of Independent Media’s redesign process and the implementation of the company’s new business strategy which started in mid-2016. This process has culminated in the expansion of Independent Media’s operations to include specialized content business units for lifestyle, sports, business and politics.

Plaatjes has been a senior transformation and business performance turnaround specialist for over 25 years with experience in several sectors including telecommunication, retail, financial services, media, FMCG, online and oil and gas.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: SENIOR APPOINTMENT AT SEKUNJALO INVESTMENT HOLDINGS

PRESS RELEASE

The Executive Chairman of The Sekunjalo Investment Group,  Dr Iqbal Survé, is pleased to announce the appointment of Zenariah Barends as Senior Executive for the Group.

Barends’ association with The Sekunjalo Group goes back to 1998 when she was a member of the team responsible for the listing of the fledgling BEE investment company on the JSE.  At Sekunjalo, Barends held various senior positions, working closely with the office of the CEO and Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

In her new position as Senior Executive for the holding company, Barends’ expanded portfolio will include management responsibility for legal services, communication and media liaison, multi-lateral engagement, international relations, talent development, academic engagement and transformation.

Commenting on Barends’ appointment, Dr Survé said, “I am pleased to be making this announcement about Zenariah’s new position. I have known her for two decades, since she joined the Sekunjalo Group as a young woman, fresh out of heading an Investigative Unit at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). She has consistently demonstrated her capacity to learn, lead and rise to new challenges. Her appointment at the holding company is a logical step as we strengthen the leadership and management capacity at Sekunjalo”.

Barends expressed her delight, “I started at Sekunjalo at 1998, when we had very little, using doors as tables and sharing chairs. To be part of the history of a company which is purpose-driven, committed to transformation and excellence makes me so proud. In my new position, I want to continue to contribute to the growth and development of Sekunjalo and it’s people.”

Barends retains her position as Chief of Staff of Independent Media.  She is also a board member of JSE-listed AEEI (Pty) Ltd, where she chairs the Transformation Committee. In addition, she serves in various capacities in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement and the Delft Big Band. Zenariah has a strong passion for the development of the arts and was a founder member of the Cape Cultural Collective.

Historically, Zenariah has a varied career journey, with history in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), an institute set up to investigate human rights abuses during Apartheid, where she headed up the Western Cape Investigative Unit. Zenariah also has an education background, as a researcher at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Education Policy Unit (EPU) where she conducted research into post-apartheid higher education policy. Prior to that, she was a Sociology lecturer at UWC.

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