When Thando Dlamuka of Isencane Lengane said she was pregnant, people who watched the reality show Moja Love were shocked and upset.
Isencane Lengane is a reality show that follows the lives of two teenage couples who have recently tied the knot. When the show first aired, it caused some people to raise their eyebrows, but it quickly became a popular favourite, as evidenced by its high audience ratings.
Following a series of questionable activities, including lying and cheating, viewers of the reality show came to the conclusion that Siyacela is an unfit spouse.
Since a few weeks ago, the opinion held by the majority of fans on the TL has been that Thando should abandon him. Because of this, the majority of fans felt a great deal of frustration whenever they considered the potential that Thando would become pregnant with Siya’s child.
However, their worst fear came true when Thando took a pregnancy test and found out that she is three weeks pregnant. This was the moment when their worst nightmare became a reality.
Fans were outraged by the news, not only because they are sceptical that Siyacela will be a good father, but also because just a few short weeks ago, Siya revealed to Thando that he had fathered a child with the girl with whom he had been having an affair. Fans believe that Siyacela will not be a good father.
The young bride, who is only 18 years old, has tied the knot with another young woman, Siyacela Dlamuka, who is the same age as her. After Siyacela got married, he decided to quit high school so that he could devote the majority of his time to sleeping and thinking about expanding his family’s polygamous practises. Despite this, his wife Thando, who had just finished high school, was determined to one day work in the social services field.
ZIDINDI, SOUTH AFRICA — Ncedisa Paul, who is always tough and positive, is experiencing something she has never felt in her life: the want to give up.
“I have had enough of attempting to assist individuals who refuse to pay attention to common reason. “I have reached my breaking point,” she murmured, pressing her fingers to her brow, “of trying to save other people from themselves.”
The dissatisfied community health worker sighed and remarked, “Before I started working here, I was the kind of person saying things like, ‘Every black cloud has a silver lining….'” The exchange took place in the waiting room of a clinic that was completely full of patients.
But these days, she questions whether she has any influence at all over a storm that has been gradually brewing in Zidindi, which is a very destitute part of the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, over the course of the past few years.
Paul’s job at an NGO called Philani involves giving mothers and children fundamental recommendations regarding their health. She stated that there has been a significant increase in the number of adolescent births in the district of Zidindi, which has approximately 130,000 residents.
According to health workers and the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, the situation in this region is very similar to what is occurring in the rest of the country (NPA).
It is against the law in South Africa for anyone younger than 16 to engage in sexual activity, regardless of whether or not consent was given. In August of the previous year, the NPA gave its approval for the prosecution of five underage teens, one of whom was already pregnant at the time of the incident.
At that time, a spokesperson for the NPA named Mthunzi Mhaga stated, “This problem seems to be continuing unabated as we continue to get similar cases.”
There are almost as many people looking for work in Zidindi as there are jobs available. The majority of people live in huts made of mud and are self-sufficient in terms of food production. The availability of electricity is extremely limited. As a result of people defecating and urinating in the open spaces such as fields, forests, and hills, the water supplies in the area have been polluted. HIV is present in the bodies of one in every four women. People have a difficult time gaining access to healthcare because there are insufficient medical facilities to cover such a large area. Diseases such as diarrhoea claim the lives of hundreds of children every single year.
“More than 65 percent of the mothers we work with in Zidindi are teens between the ages of 13 and 19,” says one of the workers there. According to Paul, it is not unusual to come across 15-year-old girls who already have three children. “However, it never ceases to amaze me.”
They are unable to digest the words…
During the course of showing VOA about the neighbourhood, the health worker stopped at an abandoned home. The residents had parted with all of their stuff and left. They had gone days without eating. A young girl and an infant who were sleeping on the floor were drenched when rain rushed in through large breaches in the ceiling.
Paul later remarked, “The entire family is pregnant. The mother and all three of the daughters who are teenagers.” Everyone in the family! The mother and her daughters are all in the process of giving birth. Two of those daughters have HIV, making them positive for the virus. They have three children apiece that they have raised on their own.
She continued, her voice rising in anger as she wrung her fists, “I could have told them, ‘Please stop having babies.'” On the other hand, those children are going to be these women’s only source of revenue for the next twenty years or so on average. Will I continue to give them that amount of money on a monthly basis? No. Words are the only thing I can offer them, but they can’t digest words. So I just remained quiet….”
The government of South Africa provides support grants to low-income families in the amount of around 40 dollars per kid under the age of 18 each and every month. Paul claims that there is a widespread belief in Zidindi that the grant money is the cause of all of the pregnancies that are occurring in the region.
In the most recent few years, this line of reasoning has been advanced in several conversations all around South Africa. However, a study that was conducted in 2006 by the country’s Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) came to the conclusion that the child support grant has not significantly increased the rate of teen pregnancy since it was first implemented in 1998. It was discovered, for instance, that only twenty percent of adolescents who give birth really receive the grant. This is because the majority of these adolescents do not possess the identity documents that are required in order to apply for the money.
According to the findings of the study, “There are no grounds to infer that young South African girls are purposefully having children in order to get welfare benefits.” [Citation needed]Nevertheless, it conceded that the question could not be answered with absolute certainty in the absence of a “specially constructed” study.
However, Paul is adamant that certain women who have ID books have as many children as they possibly can for the sole purpose of increasing the amount of grant money they receive.
This becomes very evident, as she puts it, “when you see and hear what I see every day.” “In one of the families that I am familiar with, the mother had eight children. The other one is…currently pregnant with the tenth one at this point. After that, the other one is carrying the ninth one inside of her. That is the norm around these parts.”
Paul did acknowledge, however, that in addition to these other complex reasons, there are also many births that were not planned for.
The young people of Zidindi do not have access to any types of recreation other than the empty football fields that are scattered across the city. In addition, there is a plethora of shebeens, which are casual bars. The exploitation of desperate and bored teenage girls is made easier by situations like these.
“In the end, they amuse themselves by drinking in the shebeens and mingling with boys,” the author says. When I asked Paul about it, he responded, “You can see them sitting about on these high heels with boys.”
On a recent Friday night at a neighbourhood bar, many of the customers, especially the females, were obviously considerably younger than the legal drinking age of 18 years old. This was especially true for the women. The girls had a good time partying with men who were much older than them over quarts of beer and bottles of brandy, rum, and whisky.
While Paul was taking in the surroundings, she noted while shaking her head that “some of the huts are converted into taverns in these regions.” You may therefore locate (the girls) there throughout the entirety of the night, where they will be seated, drinking, and dancing. They do not sleep on Fridays, leaving their young children in the care of their grandparents.
According to Mthunzi Mhaga of the National Prosecuting Authority, alcohol is a “common denominator” in the recent wave of unlawful sexual activity involving minors in South Africa.
Paul stated that the majority of the young mothers her NGO works with have older boyfriends and husbands, and many of these older boyfriends and husbands work in mines in northern South Africa, which is around 1,500 kilometres distant from Zidindi.
These guys have money, and they want to give it to the girls. Therefore, they are able to acquire more desirable items from them, like as mobile phones, and then they can dress tastefully in order to conceal the fact that they are not working. Paul elucidated that the monetary benefit also enables them to provide a higher level of care for their offspring.
According to what she claimed, the majority of the females in Zidindi stop going to school once they become pregnant. She noted that a lot of them get married, and she added that marriage is seen as a “big triumph” for the local girls.
“They have such self-assurance, telling you things like, ‘I am a woman now; I am married, as you can see!’ Even though they do not even have a marriage licence, several of them are still wearing rings as if they were married. Paul remarked that it was possible for them to acquire such status because they were married.
Additionally, it is against the law in South Africa for a female under the age of 16 to wed. Paul, however, claimed that this law is not being enforced in any way.
“The government is aware that it is against the law, but no officials ever come here to check on matters, and the girls continue to be married. Because of the widespread poverty in this area, many mothers send their young daughters off to wed men in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s in order to secure financial stability for their families. All of this is being driven by the effects of poverty.”
Paul claimed that young females who are just entering puberty compete with one another to see who can get married first.
“It’s almost like a joke, and it’s so good for them to say it out, proudly, ‘I’m going to be married to a 30-year-old boy, and he’s mine!'”
But it’s not a joke. The employee of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) pointed out that the next thing she hears about the girls is that they have been infected with HIV by their husbands, who typically have a large number of other sexual partners elsewhere.
There is no sexual education provided.
Paul insisted that residents of the Zidindi neighbourhood engage in “purposeful ignorance” regarding methods of birth control. Even though free condoms are available at the clinics, no one ever utilises them. If the women insist that their partners use condoms, the girls are afraid the males would leave them. They say you shouldn’t consume candies with the wrappers still on them…
She claimed that parents do not engage in sexual conversation with their offspring. Even when you bring up the topic of birth control, the parents will tell you, “Oh, not in front of me, oh, not in front of me.”
Paul claimed that whenever she tried to implement sex education in the school district, she was met with fierce opposition. I make an effort to have sexual conversations with the local teenagers, but it never goes well due to the presence of the adults in the room. They obstruct my path. I am going to inquire for her family planning card from a 15-year-old girl who I am aware is having sexual relations. When this happens, the mother will step in and yell, “Hayi! (No!) Don’t come here to my house and talk about such things!” Get out!'”
According to Paul, a mentality of “just denying that something awful is happening” has for a long time been a primary contributor to the high rate of teen pregnancy in regions such as Zidindi.
She used to fight against this conspiracy of ignorance with angry “shouts and yells,” and eventually she was successful.
However, in these modern times she has the impression that all she is doing is adding to the mountain of quiet that surrounds the subject. She sighed and admitted, “I am losing my voice,” as she walked away dejectedly after yet another counselling session. “I am losing my voice.”