Airing on MTV Base on Wednesday at 9.30pm, the doccy follows the lives of three Mzansi teenagers who will lift the lid on pregnancy in a bid to educate and help young people.
Having learned the hard way what it’s like to be “16 and Pregnant", sixteen-year old high school pupils Thato, Faneleand and Nhlanhla are to share their personal stories.
16 and Pregnant is produced by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and directed by award-winning South African documentary director and film-maker, Annelet Steenkamp who is also responsible for BAFTA-winning Ross Kemp on Gangs (2007) and Fire in the Blood (2013).
The documentary is designed to complement drama series MTV Shuga: Down South, whose storylines involve teen pregnancy, contraception, unwanted pregnancy and mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
16 and Pregnant, was initiated in November 2016, in the last trimester of the three teenager’s pregnancies, and filming was completed March this year.
“With 15 500 school-age children falling pregnant, it was important to shoot a documentary like this. We want to start a conversation and break the stereotypes and stigmas attached to being pregnant at a young age. It exists in our society and we need to deal with it. The SA version of the show is also very authentic compared to the American version,” said Steenkamp.
The one-hour special, filmed in and around Rockville, Kliptown and Pretoria, it follows a critical period in the life of each teen as they navigate the bumpy terrain of adolescence, rebellion, love, sex and coming of age – all while dealing with pregnancy and motherhood when barely more than a child herself.
“Our characters are real and very brave, and they had to grow up very quickly, but they are still very goal orientated and have a vision on how they want their lives to turn out. The one character is actually HIV positive and so her story is extremely sensitive, but the documentary shows that with the right education, support and help from loved ones, society and organisations out there, one can get through a circumstance such as this,” she said.
Meet the mothers-to-be
Thato is from a middle class background and lives with her strong-willed mother and great grandmother. She has a good relationship with both her parents and they are both supportive, wanting only the best for Thato. She has a good relationship with the baby daddy even post giving birth. She loves nothing more than to dress up and party with her big circle of friends. Although her mom advised her ‘not to mess around with boys’, she had no sexual health education to guide her in making the correct sex decisions. Her ambition is to be a respected lawyer.
Fanele has no access to basic services (proper housing, sanitation, running water) let alone sexual health education within her environment. Initially shy but once she settles, she has a big personality. She has participated in the arts from a young age, dancing, singing and acting and has traveled overseas to participate in an international production. She is outgoing and aspires to making a name for herself – not for selfish reasons but to disprove the stereotypes around Kliptown (a shanty town). Not much positivity is associated with the town and she would like to change that narrative.
Nhlanhla lives in a SA mining town where the biggest diamond ever was found. She lives with her older brother and grandmother. Although she doesn’t live with her mother, her mom is the closest person in her life. She loves animals, particularly reptiles, her favourite being snakes. She enjoys learning and looks forward to realizing her dream of being a vet.