Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And the winner is...


Yesterday was an incredible and amazing day.

It started very early, but it was totally worth it. The ceremony was held in The Hall of Knights in The Hague. It's the oldest building in Holland and it's only used about twice a year - when the Queen does the state of the union address and the international children's peace prize awards ceremony. Epic.

We had a couple of run-through's for the actual ceremony and the morning was largely taken up with interviews for TV, newspapers and websites. It was so much fun.

Then the ceremony started.

We (Thandiwe - 2007 winner, and myself) came in down the aisle. And the other guests of honour entered down the big stairs - clearly that wouldn't have worked for us. We made a plan. Every year the prize is handed over by a Nobel Peace Prize loureate. So this year the loureate was Mairead Maguire. She won in 1976 - she worked really hard to negotiate for peace in Northern Ireland. Mairead is an incredible woman.

There were awesome people who spoke. Someone who really made me think was Susan Bissell, from Unicef. She really spoke to me. Some interesting things are going to happen with Unicef and disability. So, wait and see.

When I had to get up and do my speech, it was a huge moment and my emotions got the better of me a little bit. I started crying (which made me stress because generally when I cry nobody can understand what I'm saying), but I controlled myself enough to be able to do my speech. I was very proud of myself for actually carrying on and doing my speech.

After I spoke, the Maastrichter Staar (it's a 100-strong male choir) sang the South African National Anthem. Once again, my emotions decided to leave me. It was an incredible moment that was quite overwhelming but it was very important that it happened the way it did.

The gala dinner afterwards was so much fun. I had my homies and it was all good. The food, the music, the people, everything was perfect!

1 comment:

  1. My darling Chaeli,

    You make me feel so empowered by just being you. I can't wait to witness all the amazing things you will do with your life.

    I hope I can embrace the ability in everyone like you do.

    Thank you for your amazing courage and CONGRATULATIONS!!