A Beacon Hill High School pupil, who is deputy speaker of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament, was nominated to represent all children of South Africa, to speak on gender-based violence, femicide and child murders in the National Assembly in Parliament.
Alessio Marcus was elected as the deputy speaker for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament in December 2019, elected as the chairperson of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) in the Western Cape and chosen as one of the SA Top 100 Ambassadors in June this year.
He appeared on the Parliament TV channel, delivering his speech to many esteemed ministers and the country, in the National Assembly at the National Men’s Parliament on Friday November 20.
Parliament, in partnership with the SA National Aids Council and the Department of Social Development hosted a two-day National Men’s Parliament on Thursday, and Friday November 19 and 20 under the theme: “Institutionalising a Responsive Men’s Movement.”
“We are seeing so many children die, most times the common denominator are men. As a young leader, it was important for me to address this issue,” Alessio said.
People have witnessed so many children die as a result of gender-based violence, children are dying at the hands of their family members, gangsters and even law enforcement officers, he said in his speech.
“We as South Africans need to come to the realisation that the only way we will be able to combat and fight gender-based violence is if we fix the three systems that are needed in order to fight gender-based violence. The three systems are our policing system, the health system and the justice system,” he said.
In a few years time, young leaders will need to take their place in the world, he said.
“We are testament to where we come from. Where we come from doesn’t define who we are. The world, this country, will be left in our hands,” said Alessio.
A Rhodes High School pupil, former ambassador of the Western Cape for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament, Lonwabo Gade, 17, from Beacon Valley, spoke on the child participation framework.
Boitelo Mothoa, from the Unit of Child’s Rights Advocacy, said it is very important for children to be active on the issue of gender-based violence as children are usually not at the forefront of this but are the ones most impacted.
“Their voices need to be heard, they need to speak for themselves on how this issue may affect them,” said Ms Mothoa.
If you would like to know more about the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament or join them, visit the national Department of Social Development website or visit their social media platforms.