SOUTH AFRICA: "If you don't get love at home, you tend to find it elsewhere"

Monday, June 18, 2007


Olivia Mboma is 18-years-old and has a 21-month-old baby. About 10 girls a year at her school in the Athlone area of Cape Town become mothers. She spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about some of the reasons why.

"To be honest, I can't say 'it just happened' because at school you get taught about these things. We get to talk freely about sex in the life orientation classes and I think the teachers are actually doing a good job. We know there are contraceptives -injections and condoms. They don't have condoms at school, but you can get them from clinics and dispensers in toilets. And you know how guys are, so it's up to us, we have to be the people who take the step to go to the clinic, but I chose not to, even though I knew that such a thing was bound to happen.

Some of us are not safe; we're just doing it for the fun of it. A lot of girls are using the pill or the injection and they don't use condoms. I don't think teenagers abstain because of HIV or use condoms because of HIV, I don't think it has made a difference. There are a lot of adverts that show people who are living with HIV, but girls fall pregnant anyway.

When God created Adam and Eve, there were no contraceptives, so sex wasn't meant to be used with a plastic - it's like that. Or the guy says, 'I don't feel it with this' or your friends say, 'it's better without condoms' and you say, 'let me try it.'

But ever since I gave birth, I’ve been using the needle [contraceptive injection] and I also use condoms. I tested for HIV while I was pregnant, then again this year January and in April.

My mother was not around because she lives with my step-dad and I didn't feel comfortable in his house so I live with my aunts and uncles and it wasn't stable. Every time something happened, it would always be blamed on me and my sisters. If those things weren't happening, I don't think I would have a baby now because I think I would have stayed home more. But I just needed to get away, so I always went to my boyfriend and we always spent time together. If you don't get love at home, you tend to find it elsewhere.

... The goal is to finish school and get my matric [diploma], but there's no time for books when the baby comes. You try by all means to study, but your books need your attention and the baby needs, and you can't juggle both at the same time so I always hand in my things late. I had to repeat Grade 10."


Source: PlusNews