Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Zimbabwe Still Vibrant, Says Graca Machel

Zim still vibrant, says Graca Machel

Herald Reporter

Mrs Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, has said contrary to some media reports, Zimbabwe is still vibrant as reflected by the country’s youths.

Mrs Machel arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday on a two-day tour to appraise herself on the country’s efforts to boost children’s rights. She is in the country at Unicef’s invitation.

In an interview after meeting orphans and children living with HIV and Aids in Harare yesterday, she said: "Many people talk of crises and problems in this country, but I leave here with so much hope.

"If this is the quality of those growing in this country then this country is gifted.

"The younger ones have a different story altogether that is why we have to hear and listen. I am here to learn how all the stakeholders — Government, civil society, the United Nations and child organisations — are doing in as far as children’s rights are concerned."

She added: "The first element is to acknowledge that a child is not a small human being but a complete human being."

Unicef Zimbabwe communications chief Ms Micaela De Sousa said Mrs Machel’s international stature would help bring more attention to issues affecting children.

"Hopefully, through her advocacy role, she will let others know there is excellent progress made here in children rights," she said.

Last night, she met Prime Minister Mor-gan Tsvangirai at a local hotel.

PM Tsvangirai refused to take questions from the media while Mrs Machel said she would divulge details of the meeting at a Press conference today.

The former first lady leaves the country today.

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