Sports over sex – that’s the message that Limpopo social worker Peggy Mulaudzi is preaching to the province’s youth.
Local community leaders in Thohoyandou, Limpopo recently marked World AIDS Day with a community youth dialogue in which Mulaudzi preached sports over sex.
“As youth, the only way to stay out of bad things and bad behaviours is to go to school and engage yourselves in sporting activities and not sex,” said Mulaudzi speaking at a youth centre in Muledane.
Mulaudzi also urged adults in the community to help guide young people.
“It takes the whole world to raise a kid so every child is (like) my child,” she said.
“It is up to us as a community to make sure that we raise an AIDS-free generation,” she told OurHealth. “As influential people in our communities, we must play a role in informing the children in our communities about the dangers of HIV and AIDS and teenage pregnancies”.
About 12 percent of Limpopo youth report having sex for the first time before the age of 15 years, according to the latest Human Science Research Council HIV household survey. Nationally, about one-tenth of young people between the ages of 15 and 19 surveyed reported having had sex before the age of 15.
According to the barometer, about 72,000 South African women under the age of 18 years gave birth in 2014/15. This figure shows about a three percent decline when measured against the previous year.
Mulalo Mudau is one of the young people who attended the recent dialogue.
“It means a lot to us as youth to have people who care about us to the point that they took their precious time to come here and talk to us about the dangers of HIV,” Mudau said. “We feel honoured and inspired to also play a part in building an HIV-free South Africa.”