TEENAGE PREGNANCY SUCH A BORE…
By: Talent Buthelezi
South Africa is a country plagued by teenage pregnancy, and with the most recent legislatorial changes giving consent to children as young as 12 years to engage in consensual sexual activities- teenage pregnancy seems far from over.
The new legislature was by Judge Pierre Rabie following an application made by the Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children. The ruling has caused an uproar, leaving the nation debating it’s consequences. South Africans took to social networks to voice out their opinions.
“Teenage pregnancy is such a bore, we’ve been constantly told about it- there’ve been so many campaigns and talks on it yet we the youth choose not to listen. I’m so over the topic,” said Xolile Buthelezi. She continued to say that she feels the monthly child support grant is partially responsible for the ascending teenage pregnancy rate.
The child support grant is a government initiative intended to minimize poverty and to lend a helping hand to poverty-stricken families. Is the government’s goal or strategy working?
According to a survey conducted by Pondering Pander and published on News24, “…45% of teenage mothers fall pregnant to get government grants”. The survey also revealed that “37% of the youth think teenagers fall pregnant because they don’t believe in birth control, and 11% thought it was because they want children”.
Phakama Mjoli said on Facebook: “South Africa is already under threat due to the HIV pandemic- how is the “new law” going to help? This law will not resolve anything. It will be a contributing factor to problems that already exist such as teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS , STI’s and other sexually transmitted infections, this law is basically given our children a passport to die or have babies at tender ages.”
Teenage pregnancy is undoubtedly a matter of concern in South Africa. In Kwa-Zulu Natal alone approximately 17 000 school-going teens were pregnant in 2010, this is according to an article published on News24.
Nomzamo Ndlovu, a teenage mum totally has a different view. Basing her view on personal experience, she feels that having a child in your teens is not as bad as what many people think it is.
“I have a child and I don’t understand what the big fuss is all about. After all the child is mine and I’m the one taking care of it. How does my child and me having a baby at a young age concern South Africa? People should learn how to mind their own business,” she said.
Is it the society that’s failing today’s teenagers or is it their attitude or there is more to it than what we all can see?
Online psychologists believe that teenage girls who experience disruptive childhoods get pregnant younger. According to an article published by The Guardian, “not being breastfed, an absent father, moving houses frequently and a lack of involvement of parents in upbringing all brought forward age of first pregnancy”.
Conducting a survey at the Durban University of Technology, most teenagers seem to agree with this prognosis.
“Yes it can, a clear example of this would be families without a father figure this would impact on the girl falling pregnant early because she has no love from the father figure therefore she ends up dating older men who promise her the world but instead leave her with the baby,” said Sphumelele Mkhize, A Somatology student at the institution.
Thembi Nzuza a middle aged woman strongly feels that the schoolig system is playing its part when it comes to informing the youth.
“We can’t blame the education system for teenage pregnancy. These kids have guidance classes in which they are taught to look after themselves- these classes enable them to be good decision makers and to be responsible individuals. I don’t understand why they are not using what’s being taught in the classroom to approach daily challenges,” Nzuza said.
With teenagers adapting this, “laissez faire attitude,” there’s not much that can be done to minimize and eventually get rid of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The youth are the future of this country but judging by their attitude, the future may be bleak.