Twenty two years ago, South Africa attained democracy, which came with a bill of rights that was established to ensure that every citizen is treated fairly and has freedom of choice. However, with human rights like the choice to terminate one’s pregnancy still heavily stigmatised, even after nearly 20 years since it was legalised, are we entirely free?
For a closer look into that matter, on Friday, 08 April ACTIVATE! Change Drivers will facilitate a community gathering, the ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo, at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, Umthatha from 09h00 till 12h00. ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is a network of more than 1600 young change makers or “Activators” across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole. The Network connects these young people and equips them with necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in their respective efforts.
A report revealed that of the designated health facilities in the country, just over 40% do in fact render abortion services. This means that a large number of women in the country arre still opting for unsafe backstreet abortions. The rate of maternal deaths continues to increase in the South Africa and illegal abortion is one of the top five contributors. Lack of knowledge and the stigma around abortion are amongst the main reasons young women do not seek professional medical assistance to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
The ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo will enforce a dialogue between young people, more specifically high school learners, healthcare providers and other relevant experts. Issues such as abortion laws, women’s rights regarding abortion, relevant policies, reproductive health, prevention of unwanted pregnancies and safe available options for termination of pregnancy will be discussed.
Activator, Lusanda Poswa says: “The aim of this Imbizo is to help young women gain a more informed understanding of abortion from experts. We want them to know their rights surrounding this matter and options available to them, with hope that the stigma attached to abortion will eventually fade, which will decrease the rate of maternal deaths due to unsafe illegal abortions.”
The ACTIVATE! Youth Imbizo will be in a form of a conference where expert panelists will lead the discussion by giving presentations. Government departments such as Education and Health as well as activist organisations like the End Abortion Stigma Initiative and Love Life have been invited to be a part of the dialogue. The session will be as interactive as possible to encourage maximum participation by all involved parties.
For more information and details on how you can participate or attend, please contact Lusanda Poswa on 073 735 0861.
Under the umbrella theme, ‘Democracy in Action’, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers will be facilitating similar Imbizos in three other provinces. On 05 April the Imbizo will be in KwaZulu Natal where ‘HIV/AIDS’ will be discussed as a topic. In Free State the Imbizo will be on 22 April and will look at ‘How civic engagement and social participation among South African youth can be enhanced’. The last Imbizo will be held in North West on 06 May and the topic will be ‘Land – What’s the plan for youth.’ The plan is to highlight how these topical issues affect South Africa’s hard earned democracy and come up with resolutions.