Houtbay, 18 May 2023: On the second day of the dialogues with children in Houtbay, Cape Town, boy children said their parents need counseling, education, and support, so they may learn how to parent positively.
One boy child attending the dialogues, Mlungisi Masinda*, from Hang Berg community, said that some parents were hellbent on primitive ways of raising children forgetting that times have changed. “Our parents are going through a lot in life, and some take out their anger and frustration on their children. They often want us to be raised in their primitive ways and want us to go through similar experiences as theirs,”
said the 15 year-old boy.
He said parents must understand that times have changed, and they should not threaten children with violence - corporal punishment.
The Department of Social Development is trying to focus on boy children this year as part of the Child Protection Week campaign which will be launched in Houtbay on 28 May 2023.
The boys also said there was a need to channel other kids towards technical or vocational training as not every child will be an academic but can excel with using their hands. The boys raised cyber bullying as another challenge that can destroy the lives of children.
"Cellphones must be used responsibly, and as children, we must not invite strangers on our social media platforms. Social media must be used in a responsible manner, such as accessing and sharing information;” said Ntando Dubazane* from Imizamo Yethu.
Encouraging his peers to use social media responsibly, Ntando* expressed a concern that some children commit suicide because their images are published without their consent on the various social media platforms.
The children were also concerned about the accessibility of alcohol to children who are under the age of 18 years.
They called for privacy at local clinics when they seek information about their reproductive health rights. “Nurses who are our neighbours, should refrain from
disclosing our HIV status to the community. This behaviour discourages children from testing for the virus!”
They said their status was not for public consumption.
The dialogues serve as a build-up to the Child Protection Week campaign, to be launched under the theme: “Let us Protect Children during COVID-19 and Beyond.” The campaign is a 365 Days initiative which seeks to raise child protection services aimed at protecting children against various social ills including violence, cultural harmful practices, teenage pregnancy, and Gender Based Violence and Femicide.
This campaign forms part of the Department of Social Development’s role of implementing Pillar 4 of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBVF, focusing on Response, Care, Support and Healing.
During the second session of the dialogues, parents were given a chance to express themselves and one of them advised that parents must start teaching children about their sexual and reproductive rights.
In support of this view, parents agreed that communication efforts must be strengthened so that children can be educated about the negative impact of teenage pregnancy, HIV/Aids and the impact of dropping out of school.
"The children belong to us, not government, and we should learn to be open enough to talk and educate our children about everything," said Ms Julia Skwatsha, from Imizamo Yethu informal settlement.
Parents felt that government erred by abolishing corporal punishment in the home. They said police visibility, access to social workers and cooperation from community members could lead to better child protection.
In closing, parents pleaded with government to bring closer to the community services such as Home Affairs, and further emphasised that social service practitioners should be in communities conducting door to door services.
The community of Imizamo Yethu said there had no clinic to provide health care services to residents, especially for children.
*Not their Real Names
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT