The affordable education loan option
Cape Town -
COUNTLESS incidents of child murder and fatal abuse cases have become the Western Cape’s harsh reality, to the extent that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille says “we should hang our heads in shame for what is happening to our children”.
Most recently, the two who have made headlines are five-year-old Kauther Bobbs and her neighbour four-year-old Shaskia Michaels, who have both disappeared, one year apart, without trace. But they are just two of a long list of cases.
In 2009 alone, a total of 1 018 child homicides were recorded across the country – 454 were fatal child abuse cases, according to a national homicide study by the SA Medical Research Council.
At Childline’s 24-hour hotline service, reports of child negligence are received daily, according to Cheryl Morilly, Childline manager at the Wynberg office.
“While National Children’s Day is a good opportunity to raise awareness of children’s rights, it must be emphasised that children’s issues occur 365 days a year,” she said.
Not only parents, but also entire communities, needed to encourage the value of children in order to build their self-esteem. Because, Morilly warned, even if many of these children know their rights, they do not have the confidence to speak out when their rights are being abused.
Nancy Chimhandamba, communications manager at Afrika Tikkun, a non-profit organisation that focuses on investing in children and their families, said the recent crimes were inconceivable.
Two weeks ago two girls, aged two and three, were found raped and killed in a toilet in Diepsloot.
The girls had been about to start programmes at their local Afrika Tikkun centre, where they would have learnt about their rights and how to secure them.
Afrika Tikkun, whose chief patron is Nelson Mandela, offers family support programmes, youth development training and more.