by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – AFRICA’S youngest author (aged 11) and a world-conquering golfer (8) are among inspirational children in South Africa, whom President Cyril Ramaphosa has lauded for conquering the odds stacked against them to make their mark in their chosen fields.
Ramaphosa said he was “bowled over” when he met Michelle Nkamankeng who is Africa’s youngest author and is ranked among the top ten youngest writers in the world.
The author of seven books, she wrote her first book at the age of six.
Golfing prodigy Simthandile ‘Sim Tiger’ Tshabalala is racking up international golfing awards and is ranked seventh in the world in his age group, having won the United States Kids golf tournament twice.
Writing in his weekly letter to the nation, Ramaphosa also paid tribute to Grade 11 learner, Sinoyolo Qumba, from the poverty-stricken Orange Farm, wrote to him about what should be in this year’s recently-presented State of the Nation Address (SONA).
He also praised passionate activist, Ayakha Melithafa, from Eerste Rivier in the Western Cape, who attended this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to call on world leaders to stand firmly for climate justice.
Last year, Ramaphosa and Daisy Ngedla, an 11-year-old girl from the Eastern Cape, caused a stir after the youngster wrote an impassioned letter to the president, who reciprocated the gesture by visiting the girl in class.
However, the president’s recent sentiments came during a difficult spell for the Southern African country, whose frailty was exacerbated by the last leader of the apartheid regime, Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk, who controversially claimed the system was not a crime against humanity.
“They are the sons and daughters born after democracy,” Ramaphosa said of the aforementioned youngsters and their peers.
“While they have no direct experience of the atrocities of apartheid, they continue to live with its legacy of racial inequity, spatial injustice and poverty.”
Ramaphosa added, “Our country’s youth represent energy, hope, fun, potential, future and freedom.”
“It is these young people who are the real jewels of our country’s future and who remind us that our freedom was won through the sacrifices of the young men and women who were determined that not only they, but those who came after, should live in the light of freedom.”
Ramaphosa urged stakeholders such as government, business, labour and civil society to ensure the burden of unemployment did not continue to weigh down young people, crush their spirits and cause them to be despondent.
“I am confident that the actions we outlined in the SONA (State of the Nation Address) will represent a new frontier for youth development,” he said.
– CAJ News