Mayor Patricia de Lille with Marlene le Roux (right), chief executive of Artscape, celebrate with members of the Abatsha children’s band at the World’s Children’s Prize ceremony last night. Picture: PHANDO JIKELO
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF) and The Survé Family Foundation brought the Swedish award ceremony honouring adults who fight for the rights of children to South Africa.

In an evening of music, dance and poetry at the Artscape Theatre, the Abatsha Children’s Band, who were trained through the South African WCPF programme, delivered a moving performance last night.

The band had performed at the award ceremony in Sweden in April and last night was an opportunity for them to share their talent with their families and honoured guests.

Since its launch in the year 2000, WCPF has worked with more than 40 million children across the world, educating them about their rights. More than five million South African children have also been learning through their programme.

This year’s award winners, voted for by the children, included Molly Melching for the work she does in Senegal to stop female genital cutting, and Rosi Gollmann, who works to stop child labour and prevent girls from becoming sex slaves in India and Bangladesh.

The overall prize went to Manuel Rodriguez, who runs a school for disabled children in Guinea Bissau.

Mayor Patricia de Lille, who was an honorary guest for the evening, said: “What a heart-warming display of talent. The Bill of Rights, Section 28, says every child has the right to be cared for and protected. All children must be loved.” 

De Lille said attacks on young people are increasing. “In the Western Cape alone, 19 children have been taken too soon. We must stand up and do more for children.”

A poem for peace, titled, I Dream of Peace, was recited by nine children from schools across the Western Cape.

Songstress Vicky Sampson was also honoured for her song, My African Dream.

The song was performed by Abatsha band member Aerin Van den Bergh.

Activist Nadia Kamies of the Survé Family Foundation, a sponsor of the World’s Children’s Prize, thanked the millions of children from around the world who had become involved in the prize and those who were assisting children to realise their rights.

Artscape CEO Marlene le Roux dedicated the ceremony to Courtney Pieters.