Resisting the urge to rush in

2013-10-02 00:00

I AM little surprised that the report showing that almost 30 000 schoolgirls in South Africa quit school in 2012 because they were pregnant, did not get more excitement than it deserved.

I was particularly taken aback by a quote by Bonginkosi Gumede, a school principal at an unnamed school in rural KwaZulu-Natal in the Mail & Guardian: “We have lots of girls who fall pregnant here.

“Some drop out for six months, then they come back, but most do not come back. They become mothers, they stay at home, they never learn more,” said Gumede.

My mind raced, thinking of a solution I could recommend to fix the problem.

It was not long before I realised that I was about to do what I stridently criticise others for doing. It is ultimately up to the various communities and families to decide what is best for their daughters.

I am often baffled by how the same people who claim to act and speak in the name of disempowered women are the first to discard the ideas of the same women if their thoughts are not in line with their own ideological or even religious positions, especially if the women are deemed to lack the sophistication assumed from being fluent in English.

Respect for women’s rights must stretch to respecting that women might make choices that in our eyes seem backwards or entrench patriarchy.

In a nutshell, I am happy for rural communities who, as is the case with Gumede’s school, are at their wits end trying to secure a future for their children, to do whatever they honestly believe will work best.

Whether that is better sex education, a chastity belt, virginity testing or an appeal to holy texts or whatever else they think, is fine by me.

I am, of course, well aware that some of the measures I have mentioned involve young women specifically, and say nothing about the men (some young, others sugar daddies) who impregnate the young women and the girls.

It would be fantastic if the men involved with the young women took responsibility for their actions.

But unfortunately, whether they do the right thing or whether they do not, it is the young women who are left holding the baby.

That is why I feel it is entirely up to them and those who care about them, to protect them from the dubious intentions of the men who prey on their innocence or even poverty.

I am not letting men get off lightly. But it is like making a decision to walk in a dark alley in the rough part of town.

In theory, all of us have a right to walk where we want, whenever we want, or even to sleep with our windows open so we have some fresh air.

But when others choose not to respect that right, it becomes incumbent on those who are likely to be prejudiced to do what they can to protect themselves from the vile among us, at least until human civilisation becomes a reality.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.