16 June 2019


Youth encouraged to ‘choose a better tomorrow’

by: Ngwako Motsieng   date: 20 july 2018

Young people from the North West province gathered at Maboloka Tribal Hall near Brits last week to talk about health issues affecting them. Top on the agenda was gender based
violence, teenage pregnancy, drugs and alcohol abuse. Rebecca Maleke (17) said teenage  pregnancy and blessers are the biggest challenges facing young girls of today. “Blessers expose us to finer things in life and leave us with a lifestyle we cannot afford. Nice time will forever be there. All that we need to do as young girls is to focus our energy on education and empower
ourselves with knowledge,” said Maleke.

A blesser is described as an older man with a lot of money, who provides things
like cash, expensive gifts and luxurious trips to young women in exchange for
company or sexual favours. With this lifestyle of young women dating older men,
they are at a higher risk of either falling pregnant or being infected with HIV or
other sexually transmitted diseases. Martin Sehume from Rustenburg said
he took inspiration from young people who continue to do well despite challenges
of drugs and alcohol abuse facing young people.
Speaking to young people on Friday, Health MEC Dr Magome Masike, said
his department’s responsibility was to prevent, diagnose, treat and control diseases.
“We are not going to be able to prevent disease if we do not work with communities
because health is a societal issue. “Young people need to effectively use all
resources we provide such as condoms to prevent HIV infection and unplanned
pregnancies. If you want to do any good tomorrow you must start it today.
“When you are young you choose your adulthood. As a young person that’s
when you must learn to take tough decisions…
in your youth you can choose to become a criminal or you take another
decision to be a better somebody in society. You can take that decision.“We are trying to ensure that we defeat
HIV and Aids and that we have adolescent and youth friendly services. We have
introduced youth friendly condoms, Max. “The Max condoms are reliable and
they come in different flavours. They give maximum protection and maximum safety,”
explained Masike. 

Condoms are still viewed as the most effective way of preventing sexually
transmitted diseases and government distributes millions of them each year.
Young people are at a high risk of contracting HIV and Aids from unprotected
sex due to increased risky sexual behaviour, especially with the use of narcotics
and alcohol among this group