Young radio hosts inspire President on Mandela Day

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Interacting with the media is usually staid business for the Head of State but that wasn’t the case when President Cyril Ramaphosa paid a visit to XR Radio on Nelson Mandela Day. 

The President had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by children who anchor XR Radio – the internal radio station at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. The station driven by young minds broadcasts to children and staff around the world renowned hospital.  

The excitement was palpable as the President sat for the interview. He shared with the children how inspired he was by their work as young radio anchors, who are spreading hope and positivity. 

Given that Nelson Mandela International Day is to celebrate the legacy of paying it forward left by Madiba, President Ramaphosa shared his memories and the important lessons he learnt from the acclaimed statesman. 

“UTata Nelson Mandela was not only a father to his children; he was also a father to a person like myself and he was also a father to all the children and young people. He is seen as a global father to children from all over the world. 

“He is dearly loved and my relationship with him was being able to learn a lot from him and also to follow in his footsteps,” he said. 

Madiba was well known for his love of children, something that resonated with President Ramaphosa as he relished his time with the young anchors, who spend their time alleviating feelings of anxiety, isolation, fear and loneliness for their young listeners. 

Speaking to journalists shortly after the visit, the President said his day at the hospital was second to none. 

“I have spent the most wonderful morning at the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital with young people. This is the best Mandela Day I have ever had. I came here to uplift the spirits of young people but in the end, I am the one whose spirit has been uplifted. 

“I found the young people to be very confident. During the radio interview, they asked me lots of difficult questions. They are very articulate. They are very direct. 

“What impressed me most is that they are very full of hope despite many challenges and difficulties that they are afflicted with,” he said. 

While it was a wet and gloomy day across most parts in Cape Town, the President said the time he spent interacting with the young patients left him warm inside. 

“These are young people that really filled my heart with a lot of confidence about the future and we are going to continue doing a lot of good things for [them]. 

“My spirits are really lifted having spent Mandela Day with these young people. They are wonderful. They are full of warmth, good spirits and positivity that I have really not come across before. I was really overjoyed. 

“We care about their condition, their situation. But also, [we have] to do what Nelson Mandela would have done. This is what Nelson Mandela was about – love for young people, love for children and in many ways, maybe I am walking in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps by coming here to the children’s hospital, particularly on his birthday.” –