National Women’s Day in Madagascar

Published on 14 October 2016

Will you trust enough to dream again?

Robert Botha was invited by South African Ambassador Maud Dlomo to speak at Madagascar’s National Women’s Day event in September 2016. While in Madagascar, he met civil society stakeholders involved in caring for the nation’s vulnerable children.

According to UNICEF, Madagascar has a population of 22 million people, of which an estimated 50 percent are under the age of eighteen with 4 million under the age of five. Statistics show that 91 percent of Madagascans live on less than $2 a day.  It is thought that 47% of these children present with stunted growth. UNICEF research indicates that stunting, if not corrected before the age of five years, makes for permanent damage.  It is known that the first 1000 days of a child's life are the most important in terms of nutrition and development. It is estimated that responding to the problem will cost $700 million while preventing the tragedy would cost only $47 million. The country is faced with many challenges and require a bold response from government and society.

During the Women’s Day event, Robert reflected on his time in the country as well as the women of Madagascar. He shared that in the midst of brokenness, there is a beckoning for the call to dream, to unite and share in the beauty of humanity.

 

Women of Madagascar

I stand before you just a man
In the dust and in the sand
Oh women, so grand
I stand before you just a man 

Your hope, your joy, your pain I see,
I feel the wind of uncertainty
Island in geographical design
Many nations sublime
A single destiny
One family
I stand before you just a man
In the dust and in the sand
Oh women of Madagascar, so grand
I stand before you just a man 

Today, I come to share a dream
To whisper in this space of time
To call upon your heart
To believe enough to dream 

South Africa your neighbour your friend
Sharing our destiny
Our purpose
Identity
Reaching out together
To God in eternity 

Oh women of Madagascar
Prophetic are your words
Called to bless
Curse no more
Let the nightmare stay in the dark of night
Let a new day begin in the light 

Oh women of Madagascar
This is your land
Will you trust enough to dream again
To stand united in the dust and in the sand?

Robert Botha