The Guard

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Unemployment exacerbates unplanned pregnancies

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – The high rate of unemployment in the rural community of Qwaqwa leads many young women to become young mothers because of unplanned pregnancy.

This emerged during the Youth Month celebration that was held in Lusaka.

Ntshidiseng Molakeng shared her story with the community of Lusaka that was gathered at Lusaka Hall on 21 June to commemorate youth day which is celebrated on 16 June yearly.

Molakeng said she soon fell pregnant after finding herself as an unemployed graduate who was subject to depression due to the sad situation of not finding employment after graduating.

“After spending a long time not finding a job, I found myself becoming a victim of my circumstances. I fell pregnant the first time thinking that the child grant money will assist me, only to realise that it was not enough money to take care of my needs and those of the baby, so I fell pregnant a second time. I hope that the young people gathered here can learn from my experience because raising a child is not easy and the grant money is not nearly enough to raise a child with.”

Mashampene Mapesela who is a motivational speaker gave a demonstration to the crowd and asked them how much certain items that babies need cost, and her demonstration and speech brought the stark reality of the cost of raising a child to those that were gathered at this event.

“I am delighted to see that a lot of mothers are here with their children today that it is not only the youth that have come to support this event today.

“This means that whatever you hear today you will be able to go back home and talk about it because we are just here to plant the seeds and inspire the youth of today to make better decisions. I hope that after listening to me and seeing from my demonstration that babies are expensive the young people gathered her will focus on their education and take time before becoming parents,” Mapesela said.

Youth unemployment remains a critical issue in South Africa, with the unemployment rate among young people aged 15-24 reaching a staggering 61% in the first quarter of 2024. This alarming statistic underscores the severe economic challenges faced by the youth, particularly in rural areas like Qwaqwa.

The lack of job opportunities significantly impacts their ability to plan for the future, often leading to life-changing decisions such as unplanned pregnancies. The correlation between high unemployment rates and increased instances of unplanned pregnancies highlights the urgent need for comprehensive employment and educational programes to support the youth in these communities.

Key stakeholders were present at the event to offer information and advice to the youth that gathered at the event.