June 10, 2012 marks the second anniversary of the death of Zenani Mandela, the great-granddaughter of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, who was killed in a car crash on her way home from a concert in Soweto, South Africa, on the eve of the 2010 World Cup.
The anniversary of Zenani’s death comes as increased efforts are being made to raise awareness about road safety issues for young people, with the launch of the Zenani Mandela Campaign for Road Safety in New York City, on May 2.
The Zenani Campaign, which is a United Nations (UN) Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative, has as its major aim, the improvement of road safety for children in South Africa and other emerging and developing economies.
Speaking at a local launch event for the campaign on May 4, Avi Silverman, Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), said “The Zenani Campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue and the fact that lives can be saved.”
“This tragedy happens to a thousand young people under the age of 25, who are killed on the world’s roads every day,” Mr. Silverman stated.
Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), the local advocate for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, said the Zenani Campaign is timely, as it builds awareness of road safety issues, “even as public dialogue highlights other issues affecting the nation’s children”.
He explained that the campaign will seek to raise awareness about some of the road safety concerns that place our youngest citizens at greater risks on our roadways, whether they are pedestrians, or passengers. And, he called on Jamaicans to embrace the guidelines for safer road use.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‘State of the World’s Children’ Report 2012, more children die from road traffic injuries in developing countries, such as Jamaica, than in the developed countries.
Duane Ellis, General Manager of the JAA reasoned that, “The Zenani Campaign will allow us to take a closer look at safety issues relating to young passengers in vehicles, road use by pedestrians, particularly in school zones, and the challenges with young, inexperienced drivers.”
He noted that the JAA was actively involved in safety programmes for young people, through its Road Safety Programme for Schools, which is implemented across the island, in concert with the Traffic Department of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Some of the visual statements of the Zenani Campaign are the “Zenani wristband” and the Decade of Action Tag, which are being distributed globally to persons who support the initiative. Already a number of notable Jamaicans, such as Dancehall Artistes Cecile and Beenie Man, as well as athletes Asafa Powell and Shelly Ann Fraser have shown their support for the campaign.