SOUTH AFRICA AND ITS SEXUALIZED CULTURE.
Grappling within teens girls
By Isaiah-Phillips Akintola
On Friday, the 6th of September 2018, I listened to a troubling presentation done by stats SA, Home Affairs, and the department of education on SABC on the impact of teenage pregnancy in South Africa.
Information from SA statistics
Numbers released by Statistics South Africa last week (30 August 2018) show that more than 3 000 girls aged between 10 and 14 became mothers or registered the births of their children in South Africa last year. Over 100 000 teenagers became moms in the same year.
The Recorded Live Births report commissioned by the state’s official statistician, Statistics South Africa, showed that a total of 3 261 girl children aged between 10 and 14 became registered mothers in South Africa last year. Of the 3 261, 1 959 registered the births, late which means the babies were born earlier.
This is a shocking information that should trouble any serious government, individual, church, or community leader. As I listen to this interview on SABC 3, I could not avoid tears rolling down my eyes as my thoughts began to ponder about the future of these children who have become mothers with absentee fathers. It is said that seventy percent of the fathers of these teen mothers are nowhere to be found, they’re identities cannot be captured on the Home Affairs database.
This is the height of irresponsibility from the men who impregnate these girls. It is likewise affirmed that South Africa is becoming a fatherless generation. Meaning that most of the children being born are growing up without a father in the house, no wonder many of the South African boys are becoming homosexuals, due to this lack of a well-defined identity by their fathers. These are all big issues that could overwhelm anyone without the required spiritual wisdom and apostolic, governmental grace to engage them effectively. When you listen to some social issues, you will immediately agree with most of the things I’ve been saying that the church needs to change its wineskin and concept of visibility and operation within society.
A weak, religious, church, philosophy does not have the required capacity for such complex, socioeconomic and sociocultural challenges. I have had several versions of the reason why teenage pregnancy is increasing in South Africa, especially, amongst the colored and black community, but the one that shocks me the most is, teens are lured by some guys, or their parents just for the sake of the social grants that come from the government.
The question is, how much do these teenagers get from the social department that they would forfeit their future for this kind of lifestyle. Something is terribly wrong with the social fabric of this nation that requires an urgent, strategic engagement to be fixed. There cannot be a lasting economic security for South Africa if these challenges are not handled seriously and effectively. When you convert the monetary loss of this social irresponsibility from the taxpayer, then you’ll realize that the nation is actually at a loss than gain.
The money government is spending to try to manage these avoidable issues are far greater than the money they can spend on preventing and empowering these teens to become better, productive citizens. But of the cause, this is seen as a political strategy by some politician to stay in power. The government cannot continue to play political games with the lives and destiny of this vulnerable teens.
It is highly hypocritical to preach or talk about moral regeneration while the very system that drives the laws and policy mechanism of South Africa, allows pupils as young as the age of 12 to be loose and indecent, by giving them the freedom they have no mental or emotional capacity to handle. Please, don’t get me wrong, every child should, and must be given the space and the right to express their God-given or constitutional right of freedom. We shall elaborate more on this point, but for now let’s look at this rising, destructive trend.
Irresponsible policy and leadership
The idea of promoting social rights and freedom by allowing children to have their choice in such a highly complex matter, in my strong opinion, is an irresponsible policy decision, particularly in a society like that of South Africa where it is still struggling with one of the highest rates of marginalization, poverty, and inequality, divorce, criminal activity, drugs, prostitution, and the list continues. To allow teens to experiment on drugs, alcohol, and sex is not only immoral but a failure in leadership right from the position of parenthood all the way to those in church and state power.
Experimenting sex certainly is not part of the preparation for educational empowerment, nation-building, or economic development, if you ask me. In fact, it is one of the easiest ways to destroy a nation and its economy. Such high-level call to allow teens to make a decision on when to start seeing the posit sex openly is a violation of the moral dignity of society.
To do such a thing requires a deep sense of maturity and responsibility that should first be carefully taught and nurtured, not just within the walls of a classroom, as crucially important as that may be, but by a well-informed parent, who should by default know the character formation of their children’s sexuality better than any teacher, social workers, or any other entity or group in the society for that matter.
There are certain rights that should be effectively managed and held in custody of the true ministry of parenthood, while they seek to build the right, quality character foundation that should allow their child to effectively grow up spiritually, psychologically, and biologically. The position of responsibility and accountability of the choice and decisions made in life begins from the solid foundation established through the assignment of parenthood.
It is a fact that feelings and sexual chemicals within humans are most active between the teenage and adulthood stage, yet, if the right, balance, educational interaction and relationship is formed between caregivers and parents, such period can be correctly and effectively managed with the help of right leadership from all the necessary stakeholders.
Two months back, a news made headlines on SABC news, which said that primary school children, this is the age between 4-10 are more sexually active than teens in the secondary grades. This is shameful and shocking, to say the least. This almost sounds impossible, but of course, the truth is being told, and we sure do need to wake up to this reality.
Sometimes, you want to ask the question, where are the parents? But the fact is, we know where the parents are. Many of them are very busy trying to make ends meet; and unfortunately, by the weekend, many of the parents are both drunk with alcohol. I have seen too much of this scenario, and this is often the opportunity where these predators gained the opening into the lives of these teens.
For the rich parents, they hardly care or have the time to bother about the emotional or spiritual state of their children because they are all over the place, playing the high life as long there’s enough money for the caregivers and housekeepers to spend on the children.
These children who are regularly mentored on TV Popstars, and the irresponsible nude shows they watch, begin to emulate what they saw on the television with one another. The world of the YouTube and other social media has not really helped them. The culture of sex and sexual idolization that is accepted and practiced by the Europeans and the Americans becomes the preferred culture most teenagers want to embrace without thinking of the consequence.
South Africa has grown to become a highly sexualized society, like many other western and European countries, unfortunately, and this is not good for a nation that is highly youthful in the number of its population, and still very young in its democratic formation, and the process of integrated sociocultural ideology. The almost nonexistent or loss of the sense of moral compass of the society, in general, is like trying to take a journey without a map or a directional GPS to lead one that precise destination.
Before proceeding into the issue I’ll like to bring to our attention, I think it is critical for us to lay this foundation as we ask some key questions that should give us a sense of objectivity and direction, and these questions are, what is the collective vision of South Africa for the future? where are we going as a nation, what can we define as that point of arrival in terms of the value model of the nation?
What sort of future do we envision for our kids? Who is the architect of this visionary mandate for the nation, what philosophy and ideology foundation, formulate the knowledge and understanding of such vision for the nation?
How do we intend to arrive at that future? And lastly, dose such vision carries within its compass, a moral direction, and what informs such morality? I have deliberately placed these questions in the front view of the challenges that are before us so we can have a measuring rod system to judge and appraise where we are now and where we want to be tomorrow.
It is clear that the footing of the eventual implosion and collapse of any society starts with the condition, and maybe, the celebration of its denial mechanisms. The inability to humbly identify and courageously challenge headlong, the moral deficiency of a society is first a problem of a weak and uninformed leadership character.
One of the main assignments of leadership right from the core family unit to the place of a provincial, national, and international space, is to shape and inform citizens in a particular manner that allows a sense of character discipline through the promotion of sheered moral values. Understanding the complexity of the formation of society, in terms of exposure, educational brackets, race, religious preference, and economic status, and other sociocultural realities enhances a great deal the precise formation of the right, national identity that helps in bridging the divided gaps.
Seventy percent of the population of South African falls under the bracket of millennial, meaning that the culture and direction of its values should be one that is speaking into the formation and establishment of a sound moral character discipline required in the building of the necessary productive template for personal and societal development.
How can we begin to address the concept of transformation when we have directly neglected the core process of forming the base of a solid foundational principle in human development? The misplaced priority in the process of democratic value has continued to play out in the kind of people the society produces today. The lack of a clear, balanced understanding of the type of nation we want to see lead us to adopt a kind of a finished product of societies that do not fully reflect nor represent a mold value of a stable society.
If our ideology and definition of building a strong nation is merely fixated on growing the economy without first developing a well-informed, disciplined, highly educated society with a strong moral based community, am afraid, all that we have invested time, money, and energy to build will soon be destroyed under the pressure of indiscipline. To assume we can build a progressive, prosperous society without investing in a solid, and a well-balanced, behavioral, moral character values of millennia are a lie.
What is this blessers ideology in SA?
I have listened to this idea of a group of rich and highly influential individuals known as the blessers, who assume the responsibility of providing a financial and material blessing to young ladies, even if they are married in exchange for sexual pleasure. The most unfortunate thing about this is, many of these men are members of churches who play key leadership roles, while others are in the private and political space, who act on behalf of the government in society.
The question, however, is, what is driving South Africa, particularly, the millennial generation, as a society that is becoming extremely sexualized? What do I mean by being sexualized? Let me start by answering this question by sharing what came out of google search when I asked for what it means in definition as a sexualized society? This is the answer “there are societies where women apparently do not masturbate, do not feel any particular pleasure by sexual activity, and where female orgasm is an unknown phenomenon that does not even have a name. Female sexual desire is a quality that can be fostered or suppressed during upbringing”.
You will certainly agree with me that this is a very shallow expiation with an undertone agenda of what the media wants to promote regarding the ideology of sex and sexuality, and this is certainly of the challenge’s society is faced with today, the disinformation and neutralization of truth. If we don’t seek to prove to learn and truly find out what we are seeking for, we shall be given a wrong value and ideology of the real nature of things. It is a natural, non-truth that humans by default, experiment and utilize sex for different purposes beyond the act of seeking pleasure.
Sex can be used as a weapon to win dominance, influence, position, authority and power. It can be used to blackmail, intimidate, manipulate, gain both material and financial status. Because of the pleasure and power behind sex, it has become a tool many are now using to elevate themselves to whatever status, they desire as long as they can maintain the mechanism of attraction from the side of the female and provision from the side of the male.
Meaning that almost everything within the daily, operative social system of human’s is one that gravitates towards the promotion and idolization of sex as a communicative, advertising tool. Normalizing the idea and culture of using sex even as children and teens as a normal, acceptable, open practice is an agenda that has been pushed forth for decades that has finally become a reality.
Sex is a gift from God to consummate a relationship that is tied in the love and covenant of marriage. Sex outside marriage is not just biblically wrong but carries the potential to destroy the joy of individuals, and the moral balance of society.
The idea of sex as an inter-cause between two intimate individuals has become a long gone, obsolete idea within the cultural system of the 21st-century society. Sex and sexy terminology have become so interfaced and inter-used in sales promotion, and even in just normal conversations. It’s become so bad that I have often heard and read many of our Christian fellow sister social media post, use the term ’sexy’ to refer to themselves or their children while they are trying to express some form of beauty complement.
There has been certainly a systematic groundwork of desensitization, in terms of the kind of societal values certain groups, or entities would like to see in South Africa, and I believe such a mission must have begun right from the Apartheid days, or even before.
Sexualizing a society is a powerful means of not just stealing or destroying just the identity AND FUTURE of a society, it’s also a powerful method of owning and enslaving the people. When you give a careful thought to what I’ve just said, it will undoubtedly prove why the issue of the 21ST-century slavery trade is the second largest trade in the world; abuse of women, girl-child, and the sodomizing of teenage boys is on the increase even within the walls of the Church.
The point we must not lose focus of, which I think is highly important in dealing with these multi-layered, complex issues before is that, South Africa as a nation is a nation that is suffering from:
- POWER ABUSE,
- CULTURE ABUSE,
- RELIGIOUS ABUSE, AND LASTLY,
- SUBSTANCE ABUSE.
These abuses speak directly to what I have earlier alluded to, when you desensitized a nation in terms of what defines its identity and core value of such society, you have indirectly opened such a society to accept abuse as her normal ways of life.
What is the driving force behind teen pregnancy?
What in the world will drives teens, undergraduates, and most young professional, both ladies and men alike, into such a perverted, concept of financial lifestyle known as blessers? Well, it is clear that it is both ignorance and poverty, which is not just the lack of money, but the total lack of the right, moral, value within homes and communities. When the lack of decency increases within society, it opens the door for other kinds of abnormality to thrive.
Yes, the economy plays a key role in how individuals and the society respond to sociocultural challenges, but we cannot lay the blame solely on the lack of finance or opportunity on issues that bring disgrace and shame to our names, families, community, and national identity.
The impact of the kind of lifestyle we choose to accept and practice as a social norm has a nation carries a greater impact in our socioeconomic condition than we can imagine. There’s no doubt that we are seated with a major social crisis time bomb in South Africa than we admit, and it will take an open acknowledgment of this, in humility to begin to find the right solution so we can salvage the destiny of our children and the millennial.
There are several complex, multi-layered issues that have grossly contributed to this major challenge, currently threatening the future of teens and millennia that must be addressed precisely and strategically. But the greatest contributor comes from the abdication of parental visibility and leadership responsibility within the family and the broader community. What do I mean by this? When fathers and mothers directly or indirectly neglect their sole objective and responsibility to others, particularly, to the government, social workers, traditional rulers, and the church community.
There are several abnormally I have personally noticed, having lived in this nation for almost two decades now, and I have watched how children have been left and neglected to assume the role of parenthood for their siblings, of course, due to several reasons. The first major reason is directly connected to the issue of poverty. Poverty is a major contributor to the sociocultural challenges the nation is faced with. Yet, poverty must be understood, way beyond the narrow-minded definition of the mere lack of money, or the opportunities one need in life.
Poverty is a state of mind, affected by other factors, which includes the lack of a sound, relevant, all-inclusive, educational, productive system. You don’t necessarily need to have a degree as highly as important as it is to have a good, qualitative educational culture. While I advocate education for all, I, however, believe that education must be tailored made for various reasons that should correctly address the unique challenges and limitation of individuals and their society. To address poverty, you have to correctly and efficiently identify people’s history and social exposures mechanism.
Poverty is how we think, and have been made to see others, particularly, those we think are far better us, or the people we assume we are better than them. It is amazing what the indoctrination of poverty can produce within the mind frame of fallen human thought pattern. Poverty doesn’t just produce a false sense of high self-esteem, it also creates a deep sense of destructive, low self-esteem that allows for all sorts of dysfunctional, rebellious, behavioral patterns to existence, particularly amongst children and teens.
Poverty, the lack of an honorable sense of dignity, identity is the central core of prostitution if you begin to think about it. While people may say it’s a job that pays, and that may be a fact, but what kind of a job do you want to get yourself involved in, that will make you offer the most sacred part of your Body to be violated for a few minutes just for money? This is a practice that destroys not just your body, but also your identity and dignity. It’s a recognized fact that prostitution is now a general practice even amongst teens in primary and secondary schools here in SA.
This is one of the reasons where all kinds of dysfunctional, delinquent characters are being displayed in the schools. Schoolers are not merely sleeping with other pupils, they are now having sex with their instructors. Some of the girls are disrespecting their female teachers to the point of physically hurting them. Teen girls have become more aggressive in the schools. Drugs and alcohol are being used in schools, while the teachers can do very little to challenge or try to stop them.
The role of Apartheid
Some of these teens now willfully record and post these obscene acts on the internet for others to watch as if they are advertising themselves, and the unfortunate things is, the church and government seem not to have the right, effective solution in addressing the challenge. As I struggle to understand some of these factors that lead to this massive manifestation of such character within the young democratic culture of South Africa, I cannot but to link some of these issues to the ungodly, legacy of apartheid, racist, segregation policy.
Now, I am not saying the regime promoted the act of indecency. In fact, I think, at least, on face value that they stood against it. But the very agenda they promoted surely did clear the pathway for the kind of dysfunctional family and societal lifestyle we are witnessing today.
Apartheid was more than a geographical and economic segregation but was a psychological weapon used in trying to dehumanize others that don’t fit into their definition of whiteness exclusiveness. Apartheid used race, science, education, medicine, the economy, church and religion, and of course, other forms of segregation and sexuality in trying to destroy the majority’s identity so they may control the people at will.
This diabolic, destructive agenda was not hidden from the today, ruling party, but unfortunately, when they came to power, they refused to tackle the very heart of this problem. They, rather, went into building ineffective schools and in-functional RDP housing units that could not adequately address and correct the complex, sociocultural and economic divide of society.
The lack of the correct, determined political will to address the wrong of the past through massive, aggressive campaign to sensitize society, particularly, those who have suffered massive segregation, marginalization. Those who have been excluded from the mainstream economy has to be systematically addressed not just by giving them what is known as RDP houses that don’t address the issue of community exclusions, and the present reintegration.
Rebuilding the social structure of South Africa starts by engaging the false, social views, most people living within the poverty bracket have been systematically forced into belief and accept. You cannot change people by merely seeking to change their clothes. No. You must be ready to reach deep into their frame of thought, you need to address their understanding to live, self, and the environment. We need to carefully and honestly identify the challenges, understand them thoroughly, and humble ourselves to seek for the right, lasting solution in addressing them.