Baby rape exam question 'valid and fair'

2013-11-27 10:33

Johannesburg - The basic education department will consider excluding a question about baby rape from a matric exam paper.

"To ensure that no candidate has been negatively affected, the department will mark a sample of the scripts of learners from all nine provinces... to establish any possible disadvantage to the candidates," the department said on Wednesday.

This was after media reports that pupils, teachers, and parents were upset by a question that asked pupils how best to dramatically represent the rape of a baby, symbolically using a loaf of bread and a broomstick.

"If there is evidence that candidates have been affected by this question, the question will be excluded from the question paper and the marking guidelines will be adjusted accordingly," the department said.

Action metaphor

The exam question was about Lara Foot’s play Tshepang, based on real events.

The purpose of the question was to assess pupils' understanding of the concept of "action metaphor".

"The horror and aversion the audience feels is achieved without resorting to an actual rape.

"...Nowhere is it expected of the candidate to have to literally describe the actual act of raping a 9-month-old baby."

The examiners and moderators responsible for the exam question were within the prescripts of the curriculum, the department said.

"Further, Grade 12 learners are young adults who are fully aware of the social issues confronting our country, and dramatic arts... are powerful vehicles for creating social awareness and education to societal issues that need to be addressed to bring about change."

Question 'valid and fair'

The internal moderator said the pupils were expected to explain how the symbols of the broomstick and bread could be used to make an audience feel the horror of child rape, using props, lighting, sound and stage directions.

"[The question] is valid and fair because the rape of babies is a relevant societal issue."

The Witness reported on Wednesday that parents, pupils, and teachers intended complaining to the department over the question, asking that all pupils be awarded the 15 marks allocated to it.

The memo for marking the exam was expected to be discussed at a meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Baby Tshepang, as she became known, was raped in the Northern Cape when she was 11 months old in 2001. She had to have extensive reconstructive surgery as a result of the attack.

  • Foc Us - 2013-11-27 10:39

    Pathetic!! Of course they will justify it ... has ANY Government department EVER admitted they made a mistake??

  • Jon Low - 2013-11-27 10:41

    Next up the Department will be justifying a question based on passing a bowel movement or masturbating, on the grounds that everyone of that age does so.

  • Zet Watson - 2013-11-27 10:43

    Bloody stupid idiots , no morals - hope you lose the next elections !

  • Bryan McCloy - 2013-11-27 10:43

    Just the same way as the cANCer is valid & Fair

  • Hemlock - 2013-11-27 10:45

    Valid and fair? What the hell are you smoking? This is an EPIC FAIL!

      grantcallaway - 2013-11-27 11:30

      "...Nowhere is it expected of the candidate to have to literally describe the actual act of raping a 9-month-old baby." - do these reatrds even know what a metaphor is? How do they expect to create a metaphor without directly addressing the actual rape? "The broomstick was hard and pressed against a fold in the crust, but would not ease through. He squeezed the bread hard, pulling it down onto the wood...harder ad harder. Eventually the crust gave way with a rip...the tear grew larger with each repeated thrust..." - and you can do this without genuinely considering the rape of a baby? These people need to be put up in a mental institution for a while...

  • Thulisile Mlambo - 2013-11-27 10:46

    Seriously. How is this creative thinking? How on earth do you expect kids to imagine such things. It's already sickening for me as an adult to imagine that. There are ways of driving the awareness without having to instil fear.

      Renee Marais - 2013-11-27 11:35

      Or to pollute kids brains.

  • Staal Van Der Bergh - 2013-11-27 10:50

    That is f'ing sick! What? are we teaching our youth to rape? The person that set that paper should be arrested for human violations!

  • Leeroi Domo Warner - 2013-11-27 10:50

    I suppose next there's going to be a question about how to steal millions in accounting? or how to evade taxes and bribing lessons for tenders in business studies? Yes they are young aware adults but that doesn't mean they should be thinking of how to rape a baby! you forget that they are humans too and its immoral to leave questions like that in their heads - you don't know what they could then go out into the world and do

      Renee Marais - 2013-11-27 11:36

      good point

  • Andrew Terr - 2013-11-27 10:50

    Just admit that you idiots made a champion f3ckup and apologise.

  • Gareth Coats - 2013-11-27 10:51

    So the department of education are effectively saying "Look, this thing about babies being raped is so prevalent in today's South Africa, we are certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that each and every matric pupil is desensitized enough that they will a) be able to describe the action of raping a baby in their exam answers sheet; b) not be negatively affected in any way shape or form by the question or any emotions or memories that the question might evoke, c) be psychology protected because they were actually asked how a broomstick and a loaf of bread could be used to depict baby rape in a stage production, and not asked to descibe an actual rape. God help us! I'm buying a private school!

  • Robert Sidney - 2013-11-27 10:52

    I actually read the exam question as stated in another article, and if I were writing the exam, I would have REFUSED to continue with it, stating my reasons for not answering such a DISGUSTING question. That is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard, or is this something someone made up to anger us and get a reaction on this forum, because the question mentioned is extremely despicable. The author of said question should be fired and then taken to court, if you ask me, and if the question was stated as such.

  • Brenda Hayden - 2013-11-27 10:53

    How can it be fair to ask children, some of who may have been raped, to represent the rape of a baby. Are these drama students or are they training up future rapists!

      Renee Marais - 2013-11-27 11:36

      You are so right Brenda - I am shuddering about this and wish to clap someone

  • James Bone - 2013-11-27 10:54

    These kids think they got so much rights,that's the exact same reason they will be jobless,because of their inexperience of life .The schools are trying to give them real life scenarios yet they complaining about it ,when recruiting companies require experience these kids wana moan and squeal

      Renee Marais - 2013-11-27 11:38

      oh and by having to demonstrate baby rape in your opinion will assure that kids are properly educated and fit for the workplace.... which planet did you escape from James?

  • Lungelo Lulu Shezi - 2013-11-27 10:55

    thinking back to my matric exams in 2008, i know some of the exam questions are just silly but this is just pathetic. what purpose does it serve?

  • Michelle Heiberg - 2013-11-27 10:56

    Valid and fair????? Expected that answer from the KFC cabinet.I would love to see them answer this question - horror of child rape, using props, lighting, sound and stage directions. No lights 'cause Eskom decided to cut power.Music - shower running in the background. These guys are sick man!!! Disgusted by this whole thing

  • Rach Crompton - 2013-11-27 10:58

    The question is valid and fair. It regards to what the setwork is about .. I did drama and did the same setwork and was asked a very similar question 2 YEARS AGO!!! Why is it suddenly now an issue .. seriously people .. DELAYED reaction

      Charmaine Newman - 2013-11-27 11:04

      Roach Crompton

      Andrew Terr - 2013-11-27 11:05

      Seems like you DELAYED your reaction too.

      letsallbefriendsdammit - 2013-11-27 11:12

      Rach, this wasn't a prescribed setwork though. This was just an excerpt from the play which they first saw on the day they wrote the paper. If they had studied the play, as you say, then perhaps it would be more appropriate as they knew the context etc, but that wasn't the case. Mates of mine also had this question posed to them at uni, but they had studied the play.

      Suellen Sheehan - 2013-11-27 14:46

      You've obvioulsy never been raped and therefore have no idea what it's like to have to live through it and then in this instance some people have to relive it. And WTF. Why involve a 9 month old baby. Do you support that as well Rach

  • foxiloxi - 2013-11-27 11:01

    Valid and Fair - you are forcing people to imagine the unimaginable! THis is sick beyond belief!!

      Nathalie Clevenot Sinovich - 2013-11-27 11:40

      These people are very very evil and must be fired at the very least and if justice is to prevail, brought to justice for aiding and abetting in such crimes by even sanctioning imagining such evil. This is purely diabolical !

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2013-11-27 11:01

    So a question about sodomy will be valid and fair too?.

  • ivan.vanonselen - 2013-11-27 11:02

    Insane to think that the people still vote for a goverment that put these idiots in their jobs. O well people that dont think cant really make a good decision can they... this answer is a disgrace to educated people!!

  • Charmaine Newman - 2013-11-27 11:02

    Now we know why there are so many paedophiles roaming around our schools. This is on the brink of porn, snuffing and twisted pathetic and sick minds. Did the person who set the paper get a 'happy feeling' and are the examiners in on it?

  • shirelle.vanhannavandango - 2013-11-27 11:03

    The worst is, that the pupils even attempted to answer the question??? Wtf

      Bokkie Botha - 2013-11-27 11:55

      Hey what would you do!!!! They need to pass matric! You cant just walk out?

  • Moi - 2013-11-27 11:03

    ""[The question] is valid and fair because the rape of babies is a relevant societal issue." Still doesn't make it a suitable question for 17 year olds. Varsity level, maybe. Gr12, definitely not.

      Suellen Sheehan - 2013-11-27 14:48

      Hey Moi, just because we live in amongst it doesnt make it a topic that dictates whether we gets points to pass matric or not.

  • foxiloxi - 2013-11-27 11:03


  • Clinton Hiepner - 2013-11-27 11:14

    Seriously! I don't even want that image in my little girls head. Exposing children to the bad things of society is one thing, but to expect them to explain how it is done by trying to make them imagine how it might be best described using their IMAGINATION is bloody stupid. No wonder our education system is the laughing stock of the entire world. Here's the bloody evidence.

  • Feeble Bongo - 2013-11-27 11:15

    We are being run by retards, voted in by retards.

      Feeble Bongo - 2013-11-27 11:37

      The fat retard on the block.

  • Adri En JP Dirker - 2013-11-27 11:17

    What the hell is wrong with this country!!!!! Look at the state that the country is in! No wonder the crime is so high!! They've been educated to do it!! Really pathetic!!!

  • Michael B da Silva - 2013-11-27 11:18

    What a dippy frikkin question! Idiots!

  • Onthatile Mokoena - 2013-11-27 11:18

    I that they trying to make these teenagers aware of the social issues that happen all around us but you are planting very bad seeds in their imagination. The guy that said "Nowhere is it expected of the candidate to have to literally describe the actual act of raping a 9-month-old baby" is dumb obviously you'd have to imagine or think about it first before you actually describe it metaphorically as they say.

  • Onthatile Mokoena - 2013-11-27 11:19

    I get*

  • Magda Henning Human - 2013-11-27 11:24

    I am sure after this complaint by our young people the ANC is going to loose the election

  • Eternity - 2013-11-27 11:25

    Bad planning and no foresight AGAIN And now they are trying to justify it? wow. just wow. Yes, some of the pupils probably could have answered the question without being emotionally affected but with rape and abuse being so high in our country how could they have thought that some of these students would not have an emotional reaction??? It blows my mind that this was thought to be an acceptiable question.

  • Timothy Tanzer - 2013-11-27 11:30

    Another arrogant statement from a stupid government who cannot handle criticism. It is official now... our government has rape tendencies!

  • Renee Marais - 2013-11-27 11:30

    and there was no other way to ask this question? The department is sick

  • Yolandé Bester - 2013-11-27 11:31

    This is giving me motivation to take my kids, pack my bags and leave SA asap. NO FUTURE with the ANC! I'm deeply shocked!

  • Samantha Griffiths - 2013-11-27 11:31

    This question has got a lot of people getting at each others throats because they don't like the others opinion. No matter what I feel or what anyone else feels ,its what the children who had to answer the question feel. If they feel offended or disgusted( as many would) then the department would have to take it into account and give the 15 marks for the question and most probably apologize for the question, for they must've believed it right even if they didn't understand that many children feel uncomfortable with this sad truth that it does actually happen.

  • Karen Elouise Bosman - 2013-11-27 11:31

    I really don't care how they justify putting a question like that in the exam paper! Everything is run by idiots in this country! Sickening and a disgraceful!!!! Kan bly wees ek het nie ñ kind in matriek nie. Die hel sal draai!

  • Sthe Khali - 2013-11-27 11:32

    as a person who studied Drama. i'm glad they asked that question. it both critiques our society and how we respond to things through the art,m but then again thats just me.

      Jason Stark - 2013-11-27 11:46

      You are an idiot! Honestly...? if you want to deal with contemporary, sick, twisted artforms go to where it is acceptable! This is NOT the place to push agendas. Our high school students are the ones who will determine our future, this type of stuff being FORCED on them means that the entire arts future will be tainted towards the horrors of South Africa. No wonder there is so much Rape and Drug abuse in South Africa because idiots like you think that its about the question not about the actual content! GROW A BRAIN!

      Nicola Erasmus856 - 2013-11-27 11:51

      As a writer, I agree Sthe. But using a broom and a bread for symbolism?! There certainly were better ways to ask that question.

  • Jason Stark - 2013-11-27 11:32

    THIS IS RUBBISH! The question is VALID AND FAIR? This is absolute RUBBISH!

  • Klipkop de Groote - 2013-11-27 11:34

    So a question in an exam to describe how painful it is to get raped by the ANC, JZ and his Nkandla will also be valid and fair then?!

  • Jason Stark - 2013-11-27 11:35

    Just bye READING that question I was negatively affected for the rest of the week! Seriously these people are dumb idiots! How can you think you can get away with this!!! Every single one of them should be fired at the least!

      Nathalie Clevenot Sinovich - 2013-11-27 11:43

      It is diabolical thinking, not even human !

      Suellen Sheehan - 2013-11-27 14:51

      I think we should just be grateful they attempted metaphor and didn't accidentally put a real baby in that situation.

  • Vuyo Ntsinde - 2013-11-27 11:36

    What is the purpose of an exam question? Why do students write exams? What does the mark allocation of 15marks actually mean?

  • Andre - 2013-11-27 11:41

    Only a sick Government with no values will justify and embrace such utter disgraceful topics and would want everybody else to follow the same sickness in our future generation. It may be a reality but this kind of message does nothing to pull a nation out of the moral mess. SIES

  • Kabelo Mocwane - 2013-11-27 11:42

    This is absolute nonsense...

  • Sonnyboy Mathebula - 2013-11-27 11:45

    i think is Zuma who came up with this question cos his got experience of corruption

  • Mesuli Jamaica - 2013-11-27 11:47

    that thing they felt there were surpose to express on the piece of paper and know as long as they wll leave that what people does to young kids will forever painful in our hearts.

  • Mesuli Jamaica - 2013-11-27 11:47

    that thing they felt there were surpose to express on the piece of paper and know as long as they wll leave that what people does to young kids will forever painful in our hearts.

  • Debby Timm - 2013-11-27 11:53

    Has our education department gone stark raving mad. They should have asked the children How best to dramatically represent the removal; on a baby rapist private parts using a French loaf and a blunt hacksaw! The person who wrote this exam paper should be fired with immediate effect!

  • Thulisile Mlambo - 2013-11-27 11:53

    Sorry guys. Meant to reply to Khanyo's comment.

  • Antony Cousens - 2013-11-27 11:53

    It might technically be valid and fair but that doesn't mean it is OK.

  • Nick Bozman - 2013-11-27 11:53

    Let me get this right : In our society according to our Government "baby rape is valid and fair " for young people to discuss and talk about !! But we don't teach Maths,Science,geography,History,languages,

      Nic Mechanic - 2013-11-27 12:14

      Sadly seems to be the case....

      Nic Mechanic - 2013-11-27 16:25

      Sadly it seems so.....