Semifinalist reaches out

School visit part of Mr Justice SA project

MR JUSTICE SA semifinalist Caviner Ruiters visited Pefferville Primary School last week for an outreach education project of the pageant.

This project works along with the No Crime Culture project and seeks to reinstil morality in the youth through education projects conducted at schools throughout South Africa as part of the campaign to becoming the next Mr Justice South Africa.

SOCIAL MESSAGE: Caviner Ruiters inspired the pupils of Pefferville Primary School to achieve more in life and not follow the trend of committing violence against others Picture: QHAMANI LINGANI

Ruiters chose Pefferville because it is surrounded by poverty, and he wanted to encourage young people from the school to speak up and finish school so that they can better their lives, that of their families and, in turn, the community. It is also a community he knows well and that is close to his heart, having grown up and completed his schooling in the neighbouring area of Parkside.

“For our projects we are looking at a deeper sense of issues faced by our natives, more so the youth seeking to address issues of inequality with the main focus on gender abuse,” Ruiters said.

“Judging from crime and rape statistics, more so that of children within our schooling system [and not just Pefferville], my team and I, inclusive of Rhodes University students and staff, decided to address these issues head on by visiting schools and empowering the youth on these issues.”

He said with women being killed almost every day in the country, they agreed with the #MenAreTrash campaign, but added that not all men were trash.

“We need to strengthen the voice of women in our country and make sure that they are safe all the time. We are here to give young girls a voice, to tell them that it is OK to stand up for what they believe in, and for young boys to treat their female counterparts with respect and dignity.”

Growing up in Parkside, Ruiters said he was exposed to the abuse of women and children. One day he decided that he would go around the country – as well as abroad – to make people aware of it.

Pefferville Primary School principal Mason Mackay said visits from people like Ruiters, where people just spend time with the children to empower them, were very welcome at the school in the mainly underprivileged neighbourhood.

“Unfortunately people only come to our school during Mandela Day and that’s it. The community needs to get more involved and more often,” Mackay said.

“Caviner chose the school because he was once like these children and therefore knows what they are going through. We hope what he has shared with them will make them understand that education is important in life.”

Ruiters’s duties as an international human rights activist include travelling around the country telling people that women and men are equal and should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

This is a message that is really necessary in South Africa, with crimes against women and children in the news more often of late.



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