PICTURE it: a solemn assembly of gowned academics, the elders resplendent on stage in their embroidered togas, listening to a 12-year-old boy. Behind the speaker in his school uniform is more collective knowledge than an encyclopedia, in front of him are tomorrow's doctors - all attentive to the lad.
The scene at the medical graduation at the University of the Free State earlier this month was a faint reminder of a biblical story of young wisdom captivating highly schooled minds. Jordan van der Walt's speech, carried in this newspaper yesterday, was concise and lucid, appealing in its straightforward simplicity His advice to the gathering was wise beyond his years, speaking to his own, very limited but impressive experience in starting up his "Just One Bag" feeding scheme, which collected more than 100 tons of mealie meal in less than two years.
During his school's traditional Easter egg collection last year, it struck him that people might need nutritious food. Jordan's drive has fed more than a million people so far. He has received an Inyathelo Philanthropy Award, and has been named a LeadSA Hero of the Month, putting him in the hat for LeadSAs Hero of the Year.
Just as unusual as a pubescent boy counselling learned adults, was his selection as speaker at such an illustrious occasion. But UFS rector, Professor Jonathan Jansen, is a man of original thought. Jordan's story illustrates the intention of LeadSA: South Africans taking initiatives, doing what they can individually or together to improve this country.
The power of one boy's thought, his drive and those he enthused with his idea, have touched a million people. "Yes, I am 12 years old," he told the assembly of the genesis of his campaign, "but because of that feeling of wanting to serve.., and a few lifts in my mom's car, I was able to lead." Service has to come from the heart, is his belief. Many in service and leadership positions in this country should heed this boy.
THE South African Football Association has done the right thing in putting certain top officials on special leave as a retired judge takes charge of an inquiry into match fixing. These chilling words, which have blighted cricket in the last decade or so, centre around four Bafana Bafana friendly matches before the 2010 World Cup.
As in cricket, an Asian betting syndicate is involved. We hope the judge gets to the bottom of this and any guilty officials are severely dealt with. Speed is key We cannot have costly, interminable suspensions.