African children of all ages gathered to celebrate Nelson Mandela's birthday at a school in Morningside, Johannesburg, yesterday.
The children also came to discuss their future - and had also gathered for the first sitting of the African Youth Parliament Movement.
"Thanks, Madiba, for being such a wonderful world leader," some of them shouted.
"You gave hope to the black youth from all over Africa. We have courage because of you, courage to learn and be what we choose to be."
The youngsters from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland gathered at the Lycee Francais Jules Verne school.
During the sitting the children agreed to a number of issues that affected them - most important of which was that they were not being listened to.
"Adults do not listen to us," said Lerato Lepolesa, general secretary of the parliament. "This is because of conservative religion and strict traditional values."
Nelson Mandela Children's Fund chairman Judge Dikgang Moseneke accepted the declaration made by the youth.
The speaker of the parliament, Akhona Maya, 17, thanked Mandela for giving people hope.
"He showed the world that black people are dynamic leaders," Maya said. "And that we can be anything we want to be."