On the week of 5 October 2015, the Department of Social Development hosted the fifth Annual Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Free State Provincial Legislature. The aim was to give children an understanding of parliamentary processes and it is also an opportunity for them to tackle issues that affect them. The theme was “Claiming our Rights to Safety and Protection”.
The topics discussed in the proceedings included forced child marriages, deaths in initiation schools, child killings illegal pregnancy terminations among young people, violence, and etc. “What we are doing here is to build leadership for the future. There must be a shining star whereby our children come from,” Said Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini.
The two day commission hosted child representatives from all nine provinces. Representing the Sparrow Combined School was grade 8 learner Kamohelo Lephallo who was one of the five selected to represent Gauteng. “It was very exciting to be part of the team representing Gauteng and being inside parliament for the first time. It was a real learning experience,” Lephallo says.
The 16 year old takes pride on being appointed as the team leader for the team he was assigned to throughout the course of the commission. “The biggest lesson that I took away from the experience was leadership, learning how to manage people and what it really takes to be a good leader,” he explains. He further adds, “The biggest issue that was addressed for me was education which I am very passionate about.”
Lephallo joined the Sparrow Combined School in January 2015 with a learning challenge. Despite him struggling to grasp certain concepts, “Kamo is actually one of our brightest learners, he really excels when he puts his mind to it. He has shown great improvement in his work over the months,” explains Lephallo’s teacher Israel Chiture.
Lephallo is also one with many talents; he was awarded the title of Sportsman of the year at his previous school in Mayfair, Johannesburg. His passion lies in drama and music and he aims to pursue a career in theater. He is also part of the Combined School Choir that will be embarking on the United Kingdom Choir Tour in November 2015.