Paralympian Ntando Mahlangu Ambassador For Cartoon Network Africa’s Buddy Network Anti-Bullying Campaign 2017
Fifteen-year-old, double-amputee Paralympic sprinter Ntando Mahlangu has teamed up with Cartoon Network to launch the 2017 African edition of their anti-bullying campaign – Cartoon Network Buddy Network.
Cartoon Network Buddy Network first started in the United States under the name “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” and the initiative has since spread to Latin America (Basta de Bullying), Europe and Africa, the purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about bullying among young people in Africa. Ntando Mahlangu will be taking part in the campaign as an ambassador and will appear in an on-air campaign on Cartoon Network Africa, the campaign will also feature a series of animated shorts voiced by children which include positive messages about friendship, school and setting aside their differences, whether its at school, outside school or online. Ntando Mahlangu himself has experienced bullying in the past and went on to win a silver at the 200m sprint event during the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games.
While announcing his new role as Cartoon Network Buddy Network ambassador, Ntando Mahlangu said:
“What an honour to follow in the footsteps of Wayde van Niekerk, CN Buddy Network’s brand ambassador for 2016. Wayde is an amazing athlete and I aspire to be like him one day. To learn that he was once bullied was an opportunity for me to be brave and speak out about my experience in order to raise awareness around discrimination regarding disabilities. I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished and I hope my bully can see me now. I was so excited when Cartoon Network approached me, I appreciate having the opportunity to inspire other kids like me; to be proud of who they are. I know what it feels like to be bullied – it’s not cool. If you are being bullied, speak up, so that together, we can beat the bully”
For the Buddy Network campaign, Cartoon Network has collaborated with Childline and SaveTNet Cyber Safety, two organisations that work to assist children who have experience abuse and is force for children’s rights in Africa.
While talking about the anti-bullying initiative, Childline South Africa’s national executive officer, Dumisile Nala said:
“Bullying in schools is a worldwide problem that impacts adversely on school climates, and this can have a devastating impact on young people. It can affect their confidence, their school work, leave them feeling isolated, and friendless – and even make them feel that life is not worth living. That’s why Childline is delighted to partner with Cartoon Network again to reach out so that the kids do not have to suffer in silence.”
SaveTNet Cyber safety chief executive officer, Rianette Leibowitz also said:
“Sadly, many young people commit suicide because of cyberbullying, and SaveTNet aims to save lives by creating awareness for responsible digital engagement. Cyberbullying has a lasting effect, and we encourage viewers to consider the consequences of what they share via digital platforms. Partners, such as Cartoon Network, enable us to share the cyber safety message with a wider audience to ensure people know that there is help and support available and that they are not alone”
Cartoon Network Africa’s Be a Buddy website (http://beabuddy.cartoonnetworkhq.com) forms as part of the campaign and is for anyone who has been affected by bullying, either directly or indirectly, the website offers advice and contact details for both Childline South Africa and SaveTNet for immediate help, support and relief.
Pierre Branco, VP and Managing Director of Turner France, Portugal and Africa also made this statement about Cartoon Network’s continuing commitment to their anti-bullying campaign:
“Bullying is a real and, sadly, growing issue for our viewers and it concerns us knowing that most of our children across Africa are affected daily by bullying in person and online. It is hugely important for us to address this issue in a way that is positive, supportive, and relevant. This year’s series of bespoke ‘Be a Buddy, Not a Bully’ animations makes use of real thoughts and commentary from kids, which we hope will be really powerful and engaging for our viewers, encouraging them to stand up and speak out against bullying.”