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Kunene parents shield child rapists

2023-04-04  Loide Jason

Kunene parents shield child rapists

Teachers and leaders in the Kunene region are concerned about high teenage pregnancies at the hands of family members in the region.

In Namibia, sexual contact with girls under the age of 16 constitutes “statutory rape”.

In 2022, the education directorate in Kunene recorded 232 pregnancies among school-going girls. However, the ministry said the number is not conclusive, as some schools did not submit the required paperwork. 

Some of the schools with the highest number of pregnancies recorded include Kamanjab Combined School (CS), with 23 pregnancies; Okuangati CS (22); Otjerunda CS (20) and Elias Amxab CS (17).

A teacher who attended a recent community meeting, organised through the office of the governor, Kaee Kanjandere, said the future of young girls is shattered by family members, which makes it difficult to report matters to the police.

Kanjandere, a teacher at Musaso Combined School, narrated that many young girls who are still in school are mothers of multiple children.

“We have more girls dropping out of school due to pregnancy and returning years after delivery. When they come back, they just stay for months and again drop out. This is concerning, as most of these girls are minors and under the age of 14,” he explained.

He continued: “These girls’ parents do not report matters to the police because the culprits are family members. At the end of the day, their futures are shattered,” he explained.

The teacher also touched on the issue of learners coming to school while they are under the influence of alcohol. 

“These learners drink alcohol while coming to school. Teachers are dealing with drunkards in classes. Something needs to be done to ensure some of these issues are resolved,” he explained.

Concurring with the teachers is the regional commander James Nderura, saying the sale of alcohol to the underage is criminal activity; hence, parents should refrain from doing so.

“That is a crime, and it is punishable by law. Alcohol cannot be sold to school learners,” he said. 

Nderura also explained the region recorded 2 399 criminal cases in 2 022, of which 40 cases were rape cases against young girls.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula last year said the country continues to record high numbers of underage pregnancies.

Shangula was speaking during the donation of contraceptives and reproductive health equipment in Windhoek. 

“For the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 financial years, teenage pregnancies stood at 14.54% and 14.95%, respectively, nationally, translating to more than 15 000 pregnancies among teenagers per year,” he said.

Shangula stated that during 2020/2021, the regions with the highest ratio of teenage pregnancies are Kavango West (24.3%), Kunene (22.4%) and Kavango East (21.1%), while the lowest are Khomas (7.76%), Erongo (8.78%) and Oshana (9.6%).

Another parent, Katjiteme Tjihange, who agrees with Kanjandere, said some parents are abusing children’s social grants.

“You find children appearing at school with no clothes on while he/she supported by the government with a social grant. This is disturbing, and the police need to do something to put this to an end,” he said.


2023-04-04  Loide Jason

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