Teen crusades for Tata

A 15-year-old girl from Rustenburg in North West is spearheading a campaign to have Nelson Mandela voted the "hero of the decade".

Gabatshwane Gumede is part of a 15-member jury of the World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC).

The group, made up of children all over the world, honours individuals for their extraordinary contribution to humanity.

Gabatshwane has first-hand knowledge of how strangers' generosity can make a huge difference in a child's life.

An Aids orphan at the age of five, she has not stopped helping other children.

In 2005 Mandela asked her to accompany his daughter Zindzi to Stockholm, Sweden, to receive an award on his behalf.

Now she is urging the members of the World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child to canvas for Madiba to win the R1million Hero of the Decade Award later this year.

She has been adopted by Bojanala Platinum district municipality, who on Saturday handed her a special award and R10 000 after she committed 67 minutes of her time to helping change the world around them".

"Mandela asked me to accompany his daughter Zindzi to collect his Global Friend Award on his behalf. He said that getting an award from children is the best award," Gabatshwane said.

"This time I want to give him a present from the whole of SA. We need people to vote for him."

She said that doing community work was not about just 67 minutes on one day. "Community work is my life."

She uses the money she earns from singing at events to buy food parcels for needy families.

Gabatshwane also participates in the park cleaning initiatives in her community and campaigns for children's rights.

"For the last two years I have been doing 30km walks in North West during the 16 Days of Activism Against Woman and Child Abuse campaigns.

"This year I'll walk in Mpumalanga and Gauteng as well," she said.

On Mandela's birthday on Saturday, she performed a song written for "Tata" at Mankwe College at Mogwase in North West.