18 July 2011

South Africa: Mandela Scholarship to Promote Road Safety

Pretoria — As Mandela Day fever gripped the country on Monday, the Department of Transport followed suit by unveiling what it called the Zenani Mandela Road Safety Scholarship.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele launched the initiative, named after 13-year-old Zenani who was killed in a car crash last year, with a call for South Africans to campaign for an end to road deaths.

Zenani was former President Nelson Mandela's great granddaughter.

Ndebele said the scholarship will help educate citizens about road safety and contribute to the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action, which is also a key part of Mandela Day.

"We used the occasion to remind the world that while it is the living who close the eyes of the dead, it is the dead who must open the eyes of the living," he said.

The scholarship reflected the ethos and values of the Mandela family and Nelson Mandela Foundation, in helping young people to make a difference in their own communities and society as a whole.

Ndebele said the scholarship was established to inspire the young leaders of South Africa to join a global movement, as represented by the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, which aims to save millions of lives over the next 10 years.

The successful candidate is given the opportunity to learn with and from other talented professionals from around the world, with the common aim of improving road safety.

Zoleka Mandela, the late Zenani's mother, said: "A crash robbed me of my daughter. My heart is already broken, but what makes this even worse is that so often road accidents are preventable."

Meanwhile, Ndebele has expressed shock at the death of 13 Malawian nationals killed in a road crash on Sunday near Louis Trichardt in Limpopo.

According to traffic officials, 41 others were injured as the driver of the bus coming from Malawi, apparently loss control when the brakes failed. It is reported that the bus was un-roadworthy and its licence had expired, with Ndebele saying the deaths could have been avoided.

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