You know... according to the WHO, South Africa ranks as the SEVENTH most dangerous country in the world for road safety. Seventh I tell you - out of all the countries in the world - we are seventh. Right up there with war torn Eritrea (gets first prize), Iraq, Libya, Oman, Iraq and Thailand.... our own lovely South Africa is number seven!
The causes - speeding; being under the influence of alcohol; being tired when driving long distances and unroadworthy vehicles.
The only thing that kills more kids is AIDS!
According to a report by the Medical Research Council, the only thing that kills more children under the age of five years old is AIDS. Worse... apparently less than seven percent of children are being buckled up when being transported in vehicles.
How often does one see kids sitting on a lap in the front seat or bouncing around, standing on the back seat?
All too often right.
Children have no say over who they have to climb into a car with. It's not like they can say... Ermmm - no thanks - I think I'd rather just stay here in this big empty scary shopping centre parking lot all by myself in the dark because you drank too much at dinner- can they?
Yet parents and parental agents continue to drink and drive and text and talk on their cell phones and endanger their children's lives. Daily!
Thank goodness for small mercies - at least they are not allowed to destroy their kids lungs anymore by smoking in the car and car seats are mandatory for children under the age of three years old.
Seat belts are also mandatory, yet many people seem to think they are an optional extra in their car!
My lovely publishers (Lets Look Publishers) and I started a campaign in an effort to do our teensy little bit to help the situation. To empower children with knowledge in an easy-to-read way.
We invited businesses or anybody who uses the road (Duh - that's like everybody!!!) to kick in a small amount of money in return for advertising so that we could print up books to give out freely. Like a corporate social investment type of thing.
The idea was that they could be given out before Easter. Maybe kids would be able to say to their folks - Hey Dad/Mom... Sibo says you should put your seat belt on, or you should stick to the speed limit, or it's wrong to text and drive.
Sibo could say it. The kids could just point it out.
It might make the driver think twice at least.
But very few people pledged.
Everybody had some or other reason for not pledging - not even a drop-in-the-bucket amount towards a single book.
We had an interview on Jozi Today and Gillian Godsell thought it would be a great idea to distribute the books (provided we actually got any) at toll gates or in garages on the main highways. Yes indeed - what a great idea.
Let me add here - neither Lets Look Publishers nor myself as author of the book are in this to make any money - it is purely a give back initiative.
Then Supergroup Dealerships drove up (at the right speed) to the party and sponsored R50k towards the campaign. Simply fabulous. Thank you very much for caring Supergroup!
Lets Look Publishers got creative and slightly changed the format of this special edition of Sibo Looks Right so that more copies could be printed. Raptor Print also came to the party and made sure the books got printed chop chop so that they could be distributed in time for the Easter holidays.
I have emailed, facebooked and tweeted but nobody is interested in helping to distribute. They'll get back to me... they say... and that is the end of it.
Not even a peep from the Minister of Transport - who is always saying that "Children need to learn about road safety."
Perhaps road safety not such a big thing after all... or can it be that it is only important if it's YOUR CAMPAIGN?
We made another plan.
AutoReach In-Car Activations has also come to the party by giving us a fantastic customized rate to distribute the books at the Bergview Engen One Stop on the N1 in Harrismith during the Easter weekend. Not only that - they have bent over backwards to help with transport to get them there (we missed the deadline). Thanks very much for all your help.
Thanks very much to Joe (Lets Look Publishers) too for pulling out all the stops to deliver the books in time.