Schoolgirl Pregnancy: There’s no baby that fell from an aeroplane!

Number of schoolgirl pregnancies in 2005 in some provincesKwaZulu Natal 5868Free State 1748Gauteng 2336 (up from 1169 in 2005)Eastern Cape 5015 (up from 3264 in 2005)

(From Sunday Times May 20 2007)

There’s no baby that fell from an aeroplane!Liesbet Mohutsiwa

Numsa staff and members are worried about the high rate of pregnancy amongst our teenagers, especially at schools. Liesbet Mohutsiwa reports.

Nomsa Mbingeleli, a mother of two children and Numsa Kempton Park local administrator blames children themselves for the pregnancies.

“Nowadays children are pregnant because they want to be. There are family planning clinics which are free to everyone. Even on Saturdays these family planning clinics are open.”

Abide Ludidi, a shop steward at Johannesburg Central local believes that schoolchildren become pregnant so that they “can get access to the government grant to fulfil their needs. If the government stopped this grant, maybe the rate of pregnancy could go down.”

What schoolgirls are saying:Phindile Mahlungu, grade 12 student at Musi High School:”The schoolgirls are ignorant because government is supplying condoms but they don’t use them!””Government should chase away all those students who are pregnant from schools. We don’t need mothers, we need only students or learners at schools!”

However, recent research and interviews with young mothers showed that this is not the case – the grant is just too small. Others say schoolgirls fall pregnant because parents have no control over their children. “There’s no discipline at home and even at school,” says Solly Thulase, a father of six children and a secretary at Johannesburg Central.

However, Margaret Sekese a mother of one daughter puts the blame on parents. “Most parents don’t tell their children about the dangers of being involved in sexual activity.”

What schoolgirls are saying:Sandra Baloyi, grade 9 at Riverlea Secondary School:”Mama some girls fall pregnant because they want to involve themselves in style by having sex especially in winter!””The government is not doing enough to educate the student about teenage pregnancy, they only focus on HIV.”

SolutionsThulase believes the simple solution is for “parents to discipline their children at an early age” and teach these children “the dangers of pregnancy.” But this is not so simple says Pastor Arie Macebele. Often “children do not listen to their parents! As parents we have to teach our children to stay away from having sex without getting involved. School children have to concentrate on their studies!”

But then there’s the problem of peer pressure: “As soon as she finds out that her friend or schoolmate is pregnant, she wants to follow the same route,” says Mbingeleli.

Ukukhulelwa kwamantombazane afunda isikole – senzenjani?Abasebenzi kanye namalungu eNumsa ayavuma – abazali kufanele bahlale phansi nezingane zabo bazitshele ukuthi intombazane ingakhulelwa kanjani. Akukho ngane eqathaka ebhanoyini!

Swangerskappe onder skoolmeisies – wat moet ons doen?Numsa se personeel en lede stem saam – ouers moet met hulle kinders gaan sit en praat, en hulle vertel hoe “˜n meisie swanger kan raak. Geen baba val uit die lug uit nie!

Boimana ba bana ba sekolo – na re tshwanetse ho etsang?Moifo le ditho tsa Numsa di a dumela hore – batswadi ba tshwanetse ho dula le bana ba bona mme ba ba bolelle ka moo ngwanana a ka imang ka teng. Ha ho na ngwana ya weleng sefofaneng!

And nor are corrupt teachers helping. “At school, teachers propose and promise them that they will pass at the end of the year if they sleep with them,” says the pastor.

Despite all these obstacles, “Parents must play a role and tell their children about falling in love and how it can result in pregnancy,” says Sekese. “Sit down with your children, especially girls and explain the route of womanhood.” Mbingeleli agrees. “Advise them to go for family planning, especially nowadays there are rapes that can cause pregnancy whereas the child was not involved with boyfriends.

Comrades, let’s wake up and tell our children the truth! There’s no baby that fell from an aeroplane!”

The story of Marang Mpedi is taken from Soul City’s Lifeskills book for Grade 9. Thanks to Soul City for agreeing to let us use this extract. If you would like to get a copy of this book phone Soul City on 0860 11 5000.

The book includes sections on: Know your body; Who am I; Building relationships; Talking about sex; Love and sex; Staying safe; Understanding HIV and Aids; Living with HIV and Aids in our world.

Or ask them for a copy of a Soul Buddyz book – A guide for parents. This book includes sections on: communicating with your children; helping them to learn how to manage and save money; healthy living; sexuality; sexuality and children with disabilities; HIV and Aids.