In life, there are things known as a test of character. The character of a person as a whole is determined by this Excellency.

Growing up, I have experienced things no man’s eyes would see and no man’s heart would bear, but those things made me realise that I am not alone, and no matter what I am going through someday I’ll be through this.

Jack was a young man who grew up in slums area not far from the district town known as Pretoria. Growing up, Jack was once diagnosed of cholera as a result of playing in spilt sewage, and one could simply tell that the environment was contaminated by the look of the state it was in. After he was diagnosed of cholera, the disease that nearly took his life, he became so cautious, and not to mention curious, trying to find the solution of why they were residing in that kind of an environment.

Jack spent almost all his childhood life in this slums area, and he witnessed all the massacres that were caused by the disease known as cholera. Because of this Jack became aware that if the people of his hood didn’t do anything, the end result of this disease would be epidemic. Hence, the people in his community don’t understand what they are dealing with, more especially the part of environmental health issues.

At the age of 17 years, Jack and his high school friends started a movement known as “I KNOW MY RIGHT.” The aim of the movement was to make people to be aware of their rights, environmental issues, and how the solution to the problems can be derived as the citizens of the state, thanks to life orientation and the teachers at school. The movement in its initial weeks was going strong, and they tried to gather people with them in their campaigns, but that came into a break down when some of the pupils opted out of the movement and Jack was left alone. Because Jack wanted this movement to be a success, he remained trying to recruit other pupils, but that didn’t yield anything.

Desperate measures made Jack to approach the young looking beautiful girl at school, and that girl was well known around the school and above that she was an SRC (School Representing Councillor) president and her name was Martha. Jack greeted Martha with an asking smile and she responded well and said ” oh hi Jack…” and before she could continue Jack said “hi Martha am here to ask for your help, and I would be pleased if you can do something for me.” She came closer to Jack to try to understand what Jack was trying to convey, and she said “OK, I am listening shoot.” Jack looked at her and said “can you please arrange a school meeting with pupils for me so that I can talk to them with a campaign I am running?” “No problem I’ll see what I can do,” she responded.

The meeting of course was arranged, but unfortunately no one wanted to be in Jack’s so-called campaign. Martha approached Jack, and before he could say a word she smiled and said, “What’s the big deal with this campaign of yours?” Basically my campaign is to educate people about human rights and how to apply them so that they can enjoy the freedom and democracy we talk about in our everyday life,” said Jack. “Sounds interesting, so can i join your movement then?” Martha asked. Oh thank you, I almost lost myself with this, but then we should start now.

The movement name was changed from I KNOW MY RIGHT to DEMOCRACY MY RIGHT TO FREEDOM. The idea behind the name DEMOCRACY MY RIGHT TO FREEDOM was that people knew that they had freedom, but the full package that goes with hand in hand with freedom they knew less about. People knew less of these packages such as human rights or bill of rights.

Everything at this stage went well for Jack and Martha because they even convinced the elderly of the community to join the movement. That was the breakthrough of Jack’s movement, and every person in the community wanted to contribute to this movement. Now, the people knew a lot about their right as the citizens of the state, more especially the one that says everyone has the right to a healthy environment, because now they knew that the environment that they were settling in was not safe nor healthy.

The government officials were called to give their say so about the state the community was settling in, and they came to a point where they had to agree that the people should be relocated somewhere where they could have a healthy and secured environment to stay in. The community decided to agree with what the government was proposing, and a month later they were relocated in a nearby location in the district of Pretoria. From then that’s where people started to enjoy their right to democracy and freedom.
Not only was the job well done to Jack and Martha, their contribution to the community touched many in the work they did. The department of the environment was one of the organisations that was touched by the story of Jack and Martha in their pursuit to educate the community about human rights, and because of this they were awarded the award of excellence in the community. In their speech they concluded by saying: Everyone has the right to a healthy secured environment, healthcare, food, water and social security.