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South Africa, 20 November 2017: Children ‘taking over’ business, media and entertainment on World Children’s Day

© UNICEF 2017
Kids Council Ambassadro from South Africa, 14 year-old Lathitha Beyile, in New York to take over the office of the President of the UN General Assembly on #WorldChildrensDay.

South Africa commemorates World Children’s Day: UNICEF gives a voice to the most disadvantaged

Video can be downloaded here

JOHANNESBURG, 20 November 2017 – On World Children’s Day – UNICEF South Africa unveiled an art installation alongside the Nelson Mandela Statue in Sandton City square.

The statue, which stands in front of Nelson Mandela, features a young girl called Hope. The girl is symbolic of every girl and every boy in South Africa and represents the power of children to shape the future.

Emulating Madiba’s dance, she is a symbol of hope, of infectious joy and innocence. She looks back at her hero, whose legacy and achievements will inspire and guide her into the future, and her own accomplishments.

Named ‘Hope’ for her celebration and defence of children’s rights, the statue takes a bold stance for children’s potential to build our country’s future. She represents children’s strength and resilience, their joy and confidence, their courage and conviction. Most importantly, she stands for their dreams and ambitions, a future where children are cherished and protected — a future where all children, no matter where they are, enjoy the right to be a child. As part of an initiative designed by UNICEF with the Sandton mall, The Nelson Mandela Foundation and Grey Advertising – this statue is the cornerstone of a day full of memorable celebrations.

World Children’s Day on 20 November is the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and calls on all children to raise their voices in solidarity with the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

UNICEF South Africa Representative, Herve Ludovic de Lys, notes that “this World Children’s Day, UNICEF aims to empower children to ‘take over’ and come together to speak out on the issues that are most important to them. World Children’s Day is a day for children, by children.”

World Children’s Day is being run in partnership with global advertising and marketing agency Grey Advertising, which is leading on the creatives of the campaign.

In South Africa thousands of children are joining this fun day, with a serious message, where they will ‘take over’ high-visibility roles in media, business, and entertainment to shine a spotlight on the most pressing challenges faced by their generation.

In schools across South Africa, children will ‘takeover’ classrooms and assemblies to raise their voices and fundraise for the issues facing their peers around the world, such as migration, early marriage and missing out on school.

On this day, UNICEF is inviting children around the world to speak up against bullying, discrimination and unfairness. Despite tremendous progress over the past decades, according to the latest data:

  • 385 million children live in extreme poverty.
  • 264 million children and youth are out of school.
  • 5.6 million children under the age of five died last year from preventable causes.

To help give a voice to the millions of children whose voices remain unheard, high profile stars in South Africa and corporate leaders are lending their support to the initiative, including:

  • UNICEF Global Kids Council Representative Lathitha Beyile will meet the President of the General Assembly at the United Nations to read her Manifesto on children’s rights.
  • Children are taking over Google’s laboratories to design ‘tech’ solutions to children’s issues in South Africa.
  • In partnership with the Independent Newspapers and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), children are having a chance to “take over” the press in major cities across South Africa. Their opinions and beliefs are being given a whole page in each paper on 20 November.
  • UNICEF supporter, and Ambassadors, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Zakes Bantwini met and discussed with children about their views of the world prior to unveiling Hope’s statue in Sandton City square.
  • UNICEF partners Ster Kinekor, South African Airways, Mango Airlines and Nedbank will demonstrate their support by live-screening the video in cinemas, banks and on flights across the country and the region.

South African Airways (SAA) General Manager, shareholder and stakeholder, Lusanda Jiya, said: “As the Country’s National Carrier, we are inspired to make a real difference to the people who look up to us. We support UNICEF because - SAA’s CSI objective that support the well-being of our children resonates with UNICEF mandate to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential”

Motheo Matsau, Chief of Marketing and Sales at Ster-Kinekor Theatres shared: “We are happy to support our UNICEF partner on the occasion of this World Children’s Day. This will help drive the importance of positive upbringing and development in children. It is very important to celebrate children by showing them love and sustenance as they deserve it and as Ster-Kinekor Theatres this forms an integral part of our CSI programme.”

Other partners for the day include: the Department of Basic Education, Cotlands, Ndalo Media, Sandton City, the Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF), Independent Newspapers, Supersport,the Institute for the Advancement of Journalist (IAJ), and Kaya FM.


Note to editors:
Further information on how to get involved, where to download a school resource pack or sign up to take part in Move the World is available at:

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For interviews, please contact:
Sudeshan Reddy, UNICEF South Africa, Mobile: +27 82 561 3970,
Sandra Bisin, Chief of Communication, UNICEF South Africa, +27 61 418 7486,



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