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Junior 8 Summit 2009: Impressions by Richmond Sajini, Northern Cape

© UNICEF/2009
South African president, Mr. Jacob Zuma with Richmond Sajini at the G8 Summit.

I am Richmond Sajini, one of the 4 delegates chosen to represent SA at the J8 in Rome, Italy and also future president of South Africa.

It was during my third period at school while I was in the mathematics class when the principle called me to his office. The principle asked me if I had a passport and I told him I do have one and asked him why. He told me that there might be a possibility that I am going to Rome and he gave no further details.

When I got home I received a SMS from Refilwe who also told me about the trip, but everything really struck me when my longtime friend, mother and pillar of strength Jacqui Cloete called to tell me about the J8 trip to Rome.

A few days later I received an email from a Department of Education, Wilfred Marais. In the email he told me about a meeting that was to be held in Upington on 16 June.

With the announcement of the news my mom was struck emotionally. She was very proud of me and shared the news with everyone.

We wrote to Trans Hex Group which is the mining company my mother works for and also to the Namaqualand Diamond Fund Trust for financial aid.

I prepared myself for the meeting with Lindiwe and Walter from UNICEF at Upington. The meeting and announcements made at the meeting were overwhelming but I found a way to let it all sink in.

When it was time to go we went to a press conference “Send off”. Our local Northern Cape newspapers were present and also radio stations.

The highlights of the trip for me:

  • The trip itself
  • Meeting the G8 leaders in L’ Aquila
  • Meeting the J8 delegates from around the world
  • Being able to have an equal say, as a non-G8 delegate, in the discussions
  • Meeting the Italian Minister of Youth
  • Visiting the municipal board room of the Roman municipality
  • Sight seeing (The Coliseum, Vatican City)
  • Meeting the South African president
  • Meeting the Minister of international relations and cooperation
  • Going to the SA embassy in Italy
  • Dinner with SA ambassador

My challenges experienced on the trip:

  • Adjusting to the food which were very different to our food
  • Staying up late, sometimes until one in the morning because of the debates
  • Attitudes of some delegates to the South African delegation
  • Completing the deceleration and action plan
  • Being away from home

I met the G8 leaders during the G8 summit in L’ Aquila on 9 July. I appreciated the opportunity I got to meet them. I approached Mr. J. Zuma and applauded him on becoming president of South Africa. I also met 13 other leaders from around the world including Barack Obama.

One of the highlights would also be meeting Tshidi, from Malaika at Moyo’s, at Zoo Lake. She is a very humble person and appreciates the youth that wishes to do good for others and their country. She is hard working parent and a great inspiration to me.

In our action plan we said that we want to create awareness on all the issues we discussed. I intend on sharing my experience and also teaching others about the topics through presentations (On PowerPoint) and also through distributing brochures. I am going to get people involved through activities such as “Pickitup” campaigns

I will work hand in hand with UNICEF to do everything that I intend on doing. I expect aid in terms of the necessary technology for the presentations.

I would like to thank God for granting me the gift of life through my mother who supports me and makes me strong throughout every situation.

I would like to thank UNICEF for making this opportunity possible for me and my team members, such as Refilwe, Aletta and Yumnah for their everlasting support. I would like to thank and acknowledge my grade two teacher, Jacqui Cloete who believed in me from a tender age and nurtured my talents and abilities. She is truly an inspiration to me and I am very humbled to have her in my life.

I would also like to thank Lindiwe Mzutha. For her everlasting love and support and for helping us to keep in contact with our families throughout the time we were in Rome.

Last but not least I would like to thank everyone that saw the potential in me and believed in me. None of this would have been possible without this support.

More about the Junior 8 Summit

Junior 8 Summit website





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South African representatives at the J8

Read their biographical data and watch short videos on their expectations of the J8 Summit:

PHOTO ESSAY: South Africa at the Junior 8 Summit


Experiences of the four young South Africans who represented the country at the J8 Summit in Rome.

[View photo essay]

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