10 years olds to be provided with condoms, where should the responsibility lie?

2015-05-15 07:20

I’m of an opinion that quick and shortcut solutions to fundamental social problems will haunt us for many years to come. Although issues of pregnancy and STDs are critical, particularly when they directly affect kids; a holistic approach, with a dash of proactivity is what is needed. The Basic Education Department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga stated that “This is a matter of life and death (rise in schoolgirl pregnancies), so we are not going to dilly-dally and waste time.” Then they propose condoms to kids as possible solution. But I argue that the first viable solution to the problem is to understand the problem itself. Throwing condoms at primary school kids will not solve the problem but fuel it. It will give and instil the behaviour that “Our parents encourage us, the 10 year olds, to be sexually active and consume it like them only if we do it safe.” I think it is a desperate measure.

The teachers are becoming scapegoats for most of the things that go wrong with the kids in their tutelage. Poor school results are blamed on them legitimately so because it is their mandate to teach and guide the kids. Kids get pregnant, and the Department of Education subsequently proposes these desperate and vulnerable measures, they get blamed too. Indeed, for Department of Education “Ke kgomo ya mošate, wa e gapa o molato, wa etlogela o sa dula ole molato”), meaning it is catch-22 situation.

But the main question is, where is parenting when 10 year old kids get pregnancy and contract STDs through sexually intimacy?

Furthermore, who are the perpetrators here? I do not believe these kids are impregnated by their teachers neither their fellow young brothers. I do not believe these young boys are learning and sleeping with their female teachers at school either.

Also where are these kids experience these sexual activities? I believe the majority of them are taught, see and do these things outside of school premises. The communities do nothing about the very same issues that are happening at home and the surroundings, waiting for Monday to blame teachers at school. The truth needs to be told, these kids are raped where they reside.

What should we do? The parents and communities should work with schools to resolve these issues. It requires collective effort. I don’t believe that kids are aware and understand what they are doing or will do with condoms. Why? Because kids are pushed to engage in sexual activities. By whom? By us, the very same society that claims to love and protect them.

Handing out condoms to kids will not solve a problem. Giving kids condoms means you agree and surrender that you failed to protect and to provide them with more controls than passive preventative measures. You give them the tickets to say “Yes, it fine to have sex at age of 10-12, as long as it is protected.” You declare that you send them out to the unforgiving world out there to fend for themselves. No, it cannot be correct.

This is a complex social problem and needs collective (school, parents and society and government) effort and time to resolve. Not to wait for some party to take a decision and be reactive to their proposed measure. Where are the churches, civil society, and the moral generation Mbeki talked about? Do we surrender that we cannot even take care of the kids at primary schools? I don’t think that we should.

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