Teenage pregnancy is becoming more prevalent in South Africa as the country recorded almost 35 000 teen moms and younger as of 2020, according to Stats SA in a recent report.
And this was the topic of discussion when Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba visited a secondary school in the township of Sekgakgapeng on Wednesday (schools officially opened in Limpopo on 12 January).
Reducing teenage pregnancy at schools was at the forefront of her speech as she advised learners to remain focused on their school work instead of sexual activities.
“To the girl child I say: Open your books, and close your legs. Don’t open your legs, open your books. Thank you very much!”Ramathuba said.
She also addressed the topic of ‘blessers’, saying that young girls were being tempted by older men, showering these girls with gifts like smartphones and expensive wigs at a cost.
“Some young people have contracted HIV/Aids because they are with older people, they want blessers. The smartphone and Brazilian hair they bought you doesn’t come for free, it comes with a disease. We should ban these Brazilian hair extensions in our schools,” she adds.
The video, which was shared on social media sparked criticism as people said “It is all the more embarrassing that a medical doctor would speak like on sex instead of proper sex education” while another person said “Disappointed by what Dr Phophi Ramathuba said to a girl child at school visits today.”
Ramathuba responded to these comments by saying:
I suggest you watch the entire video it addresses the boy child,”blessers”/sugar daddies and empower the girl child to stay away material things.The fact is we tried to ask parents of 14yr old to open cases of rape and their response are”We know our in-laws they even paid damage”
— Dr Phophi Ramathuba (@PhophiRamathuba) January 12, 2022
Others supported these remarks as @Moeti_Chuene said “There is nothing wrong with the MEC @PhophiRamathuba telling the learners to close their legs, go to the schools and see the problems that teachers and parents are faced with, when coming to learners getting pregnant.”
@Garveybloodline said “You have no idea what these girl children do in classes, they wear mini-skirts to school with no undies… while class is on progress, just do a mini research about male teachers & their experiences with these girl children”.
“Young girls are targets of sexual predators so MEC is correct to empower them with some [advice]. Girls have power over their bodies so they must protect themselves.” – @somzet_sa.
Children having children: Over 600 girls aged 9 and 10 are moms as of 2020