As most of the topics nowadays are how we can improve our country, I thought I would share some of my personal experiences and problems which I think should be addressed.
I work in a factory along with 22 other employees; all of my colleagues are young, hardworking and fairly educated men. These guys work very long hours for very little pay, however they are happy to do so, as all of them have families to take care of.
I have a basic understanding of how much a responsibility having even one child is on a parent. My parents battled financially and emotionally to raise me and I am just an only child. My father often reminds me to have protected sex because an unexpected child (such as myself) is not only a burden for the unprepared but also derails any preexisting goals and plans you had for your future.
As my relationship progressed with my fellow colleagues I realised that these guys had families that were much bigger than normal. Out of 22 employees there was only 1 that did not have any children. The rest of them had no less than 2 – 4 children. This got me thinking, so I decided to chat to one of the younger workers. He is 25 years old and he has 3 children already. This worker is one of the more educated and quite an enlightened individual so I knew that if I were to get an honest and thoughtful answer it would be from him.
He explained to me that he had his first child when he was 17, his girlfriend was 16 and once they found out she was pregnant they both dropped out of school to take care of the child and he had to look for a job to start supporting his family. He told me that he did not worry because something which he was taught and which is enforced in his culture is that children are a gift and you can even go as far to say that the more children you have the richer you are and the more likely they would look after you in your old age. He explained to me that if he were properly educated when he was younger he would probably have no children at the moment, he now realises how hard it is look after a family, let alone look after himself.
I have much respect for my colleagues, however I have no idea how they can look after a family of 4 earning the amount that they do. It almost seems impossible. I know that nothing is being done to educate the masses on the responsibilties of having children and many of them still hold this idea of having children as a “gift” from god. I have been thinking about this problem over and over again and I still can’t seem to come up with a logical solution. Of course education is the answer, but how can we educate when it directly conflicts with their beliefs. I do not want to impose on the cultural beliefs but I know that this would be for their benefit. Also if they predominantly having un safe sex they run a huge risk of getting HIV. I feel that this is a problem that needs to be addressed now as it is already beyond our control.
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