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Message by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Justice

"We believe that the Youth of South Africa is our most treasured national asset. We dedicate this book to you in the hope that it will make it easier for you to take part in court hearings. With this book we pledge to protect you, respect you, listen to you, care for you and educate you."

Dr Dullah Omar Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
Minister of Justice Deputy Minister of Justice


This is Busi. She is one of many brave children, just like you, who have to go to court to do a very important job.

Ask someone to print the pictures for you so you can colour them in with your crayons.

Have fun and colour in all the pictures. You can also draw a picture of yourself in the space next to Busi.

Busi used to be a happy little girl, always singing and laughing and playing tricks on her little brother. But then something terrible happened to her.
 

A very bad man hurt her body and she couldn't do anything to defend herself. He also made her promise that she would never tell anybody.
 

But Busi was a clever girl. She knew that no one in the world has the right to do things like that to children. So, even though it was very difficult to talk about her bad experience, Busi told her mother.
 

It was the best thing she could have done, because her mother knew exactly how to help her.

Busi and her mother went to the police station and told them all about the terrible thing that had happened.
 

The Investigating Officer said, "Don't worry, little girl, we'll try our best to catch this main. You did a very brave thing to come to us."
 

Soon the bad man was arrested and taken to jail. Busi's mother received a letter to tell her that Busi would have to go to court to give evidence. "What does it mean, Mom?" Busi asked. "You will have to tell the court everything that happened to you on that day.
 

"You will be a WITNESS, which means you saw what happened," her mom said. Busi was very upset to hear this. "But I don't want to tell other people what happened!"
 

Then her mother explained to her that it was the only way to stop the bad man from doing it again. "You have a very important job to do, Busi. If you don't go to court, they would have to let him walk free."
 

"O no!" said Busi. "I can't allow that to happen. I'll go! Will you go with me, Mom?" "Of course I will," sad her mother and gave her a big hug. Busi was a very brave girl.

Busi and her mother went to the court house to speak to a special lawyer called a PROSECUTOR. Busi was very scared. "I wish I was at school...," she thought. "... I would rather be playing with my friends...," she thought unhappily. But the PROSECUTOR was a very kind lady and she explained to Busi that she was there to help her. She showed Busi some dolls and said, "I would like you to tell me everything, Busi. And if some things are too difficult to say, or if you are too shy to say them, you can use the dolls to show me exactly what happened."
 

The PROSECUTOR also told Busi how important it was that she told it just the way she remembered it. Busi did a very good job telling and  explaining what had happened to her. She even used the dolls to show the things she did not want to say. "Wow," thought Busi to herself, "it was easier than I thought it would be!"
 

The PROSECUTOR told Busi that she would have to take an oath on the day she had to come back to court. "What's an oath?" Busi asked. "It means that you promise to tell the truth," said the PROSECUTOR.

She explained to Busi how important it was to tell the truth in court and that it was against the law to tell lies. "Sometimes people try to make you change your mind about what you should say, but you must resist it and only tell the truth. And remember, Busi, forgetting things and making mistakes is not the same as telling a lie, so if you're not sure about something, you can say so."

Then it was Busi's turn to ask questions. "Will I see the bad man?" she asked. "If I have to see him, I'm not going!" "No, Busi. You won't even go into the court room where he will be. You'll be in another, safe room with an Intermediary."
 

By now Busi was getting confused by all the big new words she was hearing. "What is an Intermediary?" she asked. "It is a lady who ask you questions.
She will be wearing headphones to hear what the people inside the court room are saying.
 

"And then she will repeat the questions for you to answer. You'll wear a small microphone on you chest, so that the people in the court can hear your answers. They will also be able to see you on a big TV screen, but you won't see them."
 

Busi was very happy to hear this and suddenly things did not look as bad as they did earlier that morning.

A few weeks later it was time for Busi to go back to the court house for the case. She did not feel as scared as the first time and she was even happy that she would be missing a day at school! They went to the PROSECUTOR's office and there they met Christina, the Intermediary. She had a very friendly smile and Busi liked her immediately. Christina took her by the hand and they went to the special room where there were some toys for Busi to play with. Her mother had to wait outside, because she was not allowed to hear Busi's evidence. She had to tell her own story to the court later. Christina pinned a small microphone onto Busi's dress and she put the microphones on. They were ready for the case against the bad man.
 

When Christina asked Busi if she was ready to take an oath, Busi was very proud of herself because she knew exactly what it was. Christina started asking the questions that came through her headphones. At first Busi was a bit nervous and she did not understand all the questions. But Christina repeated them and Busi answered as truthfully as she could. She was so shy when she had to tell about the bad parts, that her voice disappeared. But Christina gave her the dolls and without saying a word, Busi showed her what had happened. That was much easier than talking!

Christina asked some of the questions again. "Why are they asking the same questions again?" asked Busi. By now she was feeling very tired and thirsty. Christina asked her if she would like to take a break. "Yes, please," said Busi and the two of them took a walk to the bathroom. "It won't take much longer!" Christina said when they were back in the room. Busi felt a lot better after having a drink of water and she was ready to answer some more questions. As Christina promised, it didn't last too long and soon it was all over.
 

Christina took Busi outside where her mother was waiting for her. After giving her a big hug and a kiss, her mother said: "You are such a brave girl, Busi! I am really very proud of you." Christina agreed. "Yes, you were very strong and brave, Busi. And you helped the court to stop a very bad man from doing terrible things to other children. Thank you very much, you did a fine job!" she said and gave Busi a hug.
 

Busi was very tired, but she felt happier than she had in a long time. At last it was over and now she could start forgetting about the bad thing that had happened to her. Slowly a smile started spreading across her face. She couldn't wait to go back to school to see all her friends again!

What's what and who's who?
 

Circle the number next to the answer you think is the correct one.
 

Investigating Officer
1. Someone who sells hamburgers
2. A police member who takes care of your problem
 

Court
1. A place where you can play soccer
2. A place where lawyers work to sort out your problem
 

Case
1. A problem that you take to court
2. Something you pack your clothes in
 

Arrest
1. Something you do when you're tired
2. Something the police do when they catch criminals
 

Give evidence
1. A present for a friend
2. To tell the truth about something you saw happening
 

Witness
1. A nurse who got a big fright
2. Someone who saw something with their own eyes
 

Prosecutor
1. Someone who helps you in court
2. Someone who is very cute
 

Oath
1. Breakfast porridge
2. A promise to tell the truth
 

Intermediary
1. Someone who will listen and talk for you so that you don't have to do it
2. Someone who milks cows in a dairy


Issued by: The Directorates: Publications
Community Legal Services and Children's Issues.

Department of Justice
Private Bag X81
Pretoria
0001