Joy as Mandela voted 'hero of decade'

GABATSHWANE Gumede is ecstatic that her wish to see former president Nelson Mandela and his wife Graça Machel voted the World Children's Rights heroes has been realised.

Back in July the energetic 15-year-old girl from Rustenburg in North West said she was campaigning to have the former president voted the "hero of the decade".

On Friday she led a group of children at the Apartheid Museum in celebrating the realisation of that dream. She was part of that jury that encouraged more than seven million children across the world to vote for their hero.

Gabatshwane will carry on with her efforts to help raise awareness of the rights of children and the effects of child abuse.

Mandela and Machel were selected among 13 former winners of the World's Children's Prize.

Mandela was thanked for his "lifelong struggle to free the children of South Africa from apartheid, and for his support for their rights".

Machel, also a well known child rights activist, was thanked for championing the right of girls in her home country, Mozambique, to attend school.

The award ceremony was set for April 26 in Stockholm next year.

The prize was worth a total of about $160000 (about R1,2million of which Mandela and Machel were to receive $80000.

South Africa's Nkosi Johnson scooped second prize and Nkosi's Haven will share the rest of the prize money with the other 11 nominees.