Teenage pregnancies inspire a lot of condemnation and debate. But how often do we tell the story from the girl’s perspective?
Three beautiful and spirited young women are out to change the perception by taking us through their journey of motherhood.
In 16 and Pregnant, MTV takes viewers into the homes and lives of the three teenage mothers in a once off documentary that is sure to spark conversation among families, the teenagers themselves and communities at large.
I watched the exclusive media screening on Tuesday afternoon at Bioscope Maboneng precinct in downtown Jozi.
Thato, Fanele and Nhlanhla, the brave “stars” of the documentary fielded hard-hitting questions and comments with a maturity perhaps bestowed upon them by their early brush with motherhood. But it was obvious that they were still children.
The reality is that there is a growing rate of teenage pregnancy in our country and something needs to be done about it. I take my hat off to the young women, their supportive parents, families and peers, who collaborated in giving us a true picture of what teenage pregnancy is really like.
And in spite of the prejudices they faced in school, the young ladies managed to go to school until they gave birth, and then returned to ensure that they completed their education.
I also like the fact that the spotlight was also cast on the young fathers-to-be. Usually, discussions around teenage pregnancies are a very one-sided affair. One gentleman even suggested that perhaps MTV must look into creating part two of the documentary, which will include the “impregnators”.
Filmed in and around Rockville, Kliptown and Cullinan (Pretoria) earlier in the year, the doccie uncovers some of the most chilling, emotional, scenes of teenage love, sex, condoms, sexually transmitted diseases and dating older men. One of the teenage moms contracted HIV.
All these teenage moms are facing the harsh realities of raising their children as single parents.
“The show brings to the fore the key messaging that talks to HIV/Aids awareness, it talks to teenage pregnancy, it talks to motherhood, it talks to fatherhood. It also talks to issues around, as young men what are we doing, how are we playing our role. And also being able to encourage young leadership, with a vision, you need to have a vision for self before you have a vision for someone else” commented Monde Twala Vice President of MTV Staying Alive Foundation.
Whitney Chinogwenya, Brand & Communications Lead, Marie Stopes South Africa, was one of panelists and she said: This series is important not only because it sheds light on pregnancy and parenting for young people, but because it does so in a way that allows for reflection, not judgment and support instead of stigma. I hope parents and other role models watch this with their kids and consider whether we are all doing enough to ensure young people have the tools they need, be that information, services or both, to make a full breadth of choices about their lives.
* The show debuts tonight on MTV Base at 9:30pm.