Learner by day parent at night

Siphokazi Majola* with her child.

The Department of Basic Education has reported that there were 20,000 learner pregnancies in 2014. The highest number of pregnancies was in Gauteng with over 5,000 and the Eastern Cape at over 3,000. According to the list of schools with high pregnancy rates, Jabulile Secondary in Orange Farm had 32 learners, Botebo-Tsebo in Sebokeng (Unit 14) 48 learners and Esokwazi in Unit 8 in Sebokeng had 51 cases of pregnancy.

Orange Farm, Gauteng, South Africa

Everything seemed normal during school hours at Jabulile secondary school in Orange Farm south of Johannesburg in Gauteng province. The school gate was locked with a security guard waiting and controlling movements. It was the first day of their final examination test. A few learners were outside classrooms in full uniform, well-groomed and well behaved.

In 2014, Jabulile Secondary School had 32 recorded cases of learner pregnancy. The principal of Jabulile, Abel Mlandule Mafrika, said the report was not conducted fairly because the listed schools have a high number of learners compared to others. According to Mafrika the school had 400 extra students compared with other schools hence the high number of learner pregnancy.

“I banned LoveLife organisation at the school because they pretend to give life skills to learners but at the end of the day, their groundbreakers impregnate girls at the school,” Mafrika said. He said the school only allows strictly females from Love Life to have contact with students at the school.

Njabulo Mvelasi, the media Groundbreaker at LoveLife centre in Orange Farm said their teenage pregnancy programs are useful and active even though teenagers are reluctant to participate. Mvelasi says that the luring of girls for material things is one of the main contributors to teenage pregnancy.

This was also confirmed by Anna Aphane, a counsellor at Nissa Institute for Women Development in Orange Farm. Aphane said that during their DATE RAPE CAMPAIGNS at schools they discovered that teenage girls are mostly attracted to what is called “triple C’s” which is cash, cellphones and clothes. As a result they end up engaging in uninformed sexual relationships with older men who can afford trendy things. “Others did not get pregnant willingly but they were raped by their loved ones and during dates or jolling,” Aphane continued.

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The school’s policy allows the pregnant student to come to school up until the 7th month when a learner has to be accompanied by the parent to school. According to Mafrika they have had a case of a learner having labour pains at school. “Teachers are not nurses and not trained to deliver babies,” Mafrika said.

One of the pregnant learners at the school, Siphokazi Majola*, said It is difficult to be a student and be pregnant at the same time because “you become a joke at school and this affects even your grades.” When asked about the baby’s father’s whereabouts she cried and said he is still around but not supportive.

Siphokazi’s mother Joyce Majola* said the boyfriend acknowledged the pregnancy but maybe his family is waiting for the baby to be born so that they can confirm if the baby is theirs. “This is difficult for me because it means I have to buy her a new school uniform alone because by the time she is seven months pregnant this one will not fit her belly,” she lamented.

* Not their real names

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