March 30 - National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete addressing mourners during the funeral service of Nokhwezi Mthembu, daughter of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu at KaNyamazane Stadium in Mpumalanga. Photo: ANA

MBOMBELA - National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete on Saturday appealed to parents in general to be "polite" so that their children can open up and express their feelings to them.

Mbete was addressing about 3 000 mourners at KaNyamazane Stadium at Mbombela in Mpumalanga during the funeral service of Nokhwezi Mthembu, the daughter of African National Congress chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

“There is this feeling among our children that we, as parents, want to determine who they should be,” said Mbete.

“The children feel that we want to prescribe who they are. This thing treats them badly in a way that they get fed up. Sometimes you find that children do not express themselves and share with us everything. Maybe we should ask ourselves, as the older generation, that if you see a child not expressing her feelings to you, why don’t you give that child your shoulder to cry on?”

Nokhwezi committed suicide by hanging herself from curtain rails in her room at their Pelican Park parliamentary village home in Cape Town on March 20. She was 25 years of age.

Addressing the same gathering, ANC national chairman Gwede Mantashe advised Mthembu and his wife not to blame themselves for Nokhwezi's death. He said many children were subjected to tremendous pressure in many facets of life, such as at their work place.

“It is too late to ask yourselves why you did not see the signs [that Nokhwezi would end her own life],” said Mantashe.

“There are things that are beyond your comprehension. You are alive, Jackson. You are strong. Our children are put under tremendous pressure and if they are not succeeding in their professions, they are not appreciated,” he said.

Nokhwezi was buried at Rocky’s Drift Cemetery.

African News Agency (ANA)