Just 2 weeks ago, I took time off to visit my favourite beautiful, peaceful, small rural KZN village with misty mountains. I went to the local church on Sunday and we were just standing outside the church after the service and she was standing a few feet away from me. A very young girl and she had the little baby strapped to her. Walking towards her I asked, “who are you holding” ? She hesitated and a little 7 or 8 year old girl who was with her looked up at me and said “umntanakhe” which means, it is her baby. I asked her “how old are you?” . I saw what I think was pain, sadness or shame as she responded, “I am 14 years old”. I couldn’t go on and I just walked silently away. I even forgot to give them sweets, which is why I approached them in the first place

I was restless and I cannot stop thinking about her. She is so young and this is really not fair. I cannot begin to imagine what she has been through at such a young age. Before I left the village, I had a chat with the aunt of the boy who made her pregnant. The aunt is as sad as the mother of the 14 year old girl is – they just don’t know what to do. Some of the details she revealed to me are that the father of the child is 32 years old, he is working and his girlfriend who is in her 20s, decided to fall pregnant when she heard that he had made this little girl pregnant. The mother of the 14 year old girl is an orphan and she was so traumatized when she found out that her daughter was pregnant that she tried to get the child aborted but that didn’t work out. Now that the child is born, she is hoping that the 32 year old would at least marry her daughter.  It sounded like the 32 year old father has moved on and is not interested in any discussions about the 14 year old girl that he made pregnant. As I listened to her, I sensed the sadness, pain, confusion, betrayal and I asked the aunt to speak to the mother of the 14-year old so that they ensure that she does NOT fall pregnant again.

But this is NOT enough. This young girl needs counselling amongst other interventions. I am out of my depth but I know that it is illegal to have sex with such a young child. What I am more sad about is that there is a police station nearby but no one has reported this to the police, the school has also not done anything, the hospital where the baby was delivered has also not done anything. For me, we have failed this little, 14 year old girl who is now a young mother. There must be a way to ensure that this 32-year old man takes responsibility for his actions otherwise there is a big risk that he will make her pregnant again or will make another young girl pregnant. I know for a fact that there are many similar cases like this one and it is often YOUNG, BLACK GIRLS who are victims of lustful older men and their futures are spoiled and we just watch and do nothing. If you know what is required to bring this 32 year old to book so that he does NOT do this to anyone again please contact me at phumelele@thuthuka-sa.co.za