13 July 2012 

Olympic athletes and London schools support Zenani campaign 

(l-r) Nesta Carter, Gillian Sanders, Carrie Russell, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce
Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, introduces the athletes
Olympic standard relay training for local school children
Alleyn's School, Dulwich, hosted children from several local schools at the event
Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, 2008 Olympic Gold medal winner in the 100 metres
The athletes discussed the Zenani Mandela Campaign with international media

Members of the Jamaican and South African Olympic teams have joined a group of London schools to call for action to tackle the number one global killer of young people aged 10 and over as part of the Zenani campaign.

The Zenani campaign has been established by Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter Zindzi and Zoleka Mandela together with the Road Safety Fund and the Make Roads Safe campaign. It contributes to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.

Some of the world’s fastest athletes and children from schools in Dulwich and Herne Hill, London took part in a relay race to ‘run for their lives’ at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, to raise awareness of the need to beat the biggest killer of young people aged 10 and over globally.

Athletes taking part in the Zenani Mandela Olympic event on 12 July included: Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, Olympic gold medallist Nesta Carter, Olympic silver medallist Sherone Simpson, rising star Carrie Russell and  African Triathlon champion Gillian Sanders.

Together with the Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes group, local schools have been successfully campaigning for improved road safety over the past year and have now joined the Zenani campaign.

The event took place just two weeks ahead of the London 2012 Olympics and is also an initiative for Mandela Day, in honour of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July. Zenani Mandela was just 13 years old when she was killed in a car crash in South Africa on the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Her family have been campaigning in her name for the UN Decade of Action to protect children.

On behalf of the Jamaican athletes, Bruce James President of the country’s elite MVP Track and Field Club said:

"Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people worldwide but these deaths and injuries can be prevented. As we approach the London Olympics the world’s attention is upon us. We are here in London on the world stage so we are taking this opportunity to join the Zenani campaign and to call for action to save children’s lives.”

South African Olympic Triathlete Gillian Sanders said:

“As an Olympic triathlete, I know just how important it is to have safe roads. I've had two personal friends lose their very young lives on the roads in separate incidents. It’s totally unacceptable that road crashes are the number one killer of young people worldwide. That’s why I’m calling for action to protect children on the roads both in South Africa and around the world.”

Laurie Johnston, Chair, Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School said:

“Road accidents are one of the biggest killers of young people around the world. Here in Dulwich and Herne Hill, children, schools, residents and parents campaigned long and hard for lollipop people to safeguard our children on three busy local junctions. But much more needs to be done to keep children safe on our roads. Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School is supporting the Zenani Mandela campaign to protect our children here and every child everywhere. Together we can and must do much more to provide a safe environment for all our children.”

Both the athletes and schools are supporting the Zenani campaign which is calling for key measures to reduce the death rate worldwide, including: safe crossings, footpaths and cycleways to school, tougher action to prevent drink driving and speeding, better protection for child passengers on motorcycles and in cars, and graduated driver licencing to help young novice drivers. In many countries around the world, these measures are lacking and are urgently needed to reduce the growing numbers of child fatalities and injuries.

The Jamaican Olympic athletes are taking part with support from the Jamaica National Building Society and Jamaica Automobile Association.

Earl Jarrett General Manager, Jamaica National Building Society said: “Jamaica National Building Society is pleased to have been associated with the Zenani Campaign for Road Safety. This all began through the JN Invitational Track Meet that took place between May 4th and 5th 2012 in Jamaica where dignitaries and athletes came together in support of the United Nation’s Decade of Action. We are delighted that we now find ourselves with this continued link between the South Africans and Jamaican athletes here in London in aid of road safety for our children worldwide.” 

Schools attending the event include: Alleyns Junior & Senior School; Bessemer Grange Primary School; The Charter School; Dulwich College; Dulwich College Kindergarten and Infants' School; Dulwich Hamlet Junior School; Dulwich Village Infants School ; James Allen's Girls School; James Allen's Prep School; Kingsdale Foundation School.

Other high profile supporters of the Zenani campaign include: Footballer Didier Drogba, Supermodel Naomi Campbell, F1 star Lewis Hamilton and Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg.

Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School has been campaigning to improve safety on dangerous junctions near local schools. Together with local schools the group has taken action to save local crossing patrols and is working with local authorities to make the junctions safer.

Other key attendees were Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK, Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Minister Dumisani Ntuli, on behalf of South Africa High Commissioner, HE Dr. Zola Skweyiya, Donald Quarrie, VP Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association and Olympic Gold Medallist, Ludlow Watts Treasurer Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Mayor of Southwark Cllr Althea Smith, Valerie Shawcross, Member of the London Assembly for Lambeth & Southwark and Cllr Robin Crookshank Hilton, Chair Dulwich Community Council, Southwark.

Click here to watch a film of the event >

Click here to view an article on Mandeladay.com >