On October 11, 2012, the Swazi Observer printed the essays of the winners of the national essay competition commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child. I wanted to share a couple of them with you…


Swazi girls are very important. By taking care of them, yongsters will also become better citizens like our parents. We need to repect our elders’ advice because they are helping us lead exemplary lives. Everyone is the master of her destiny. Teenage pregnancy must come to an end. Imagine a nine-year-old pretty girl pregnant. Who will take care of the little angel and the baby? They are all young and need love and care as they grow up. Seeing teenagers pregnant is very painful and it increases the population of the world. This causes the babies to be victims and this is not fair at all. Education must come first. In a nutshell, let us play our role as girls by taking care of ourselves and focus on education which will make us proud and special in future. Teenage pregnancy is on the increase worldwide and we need to decrease it. Everyone is special — let us be heroes. The future is in our hands. Let us all fight teenage pregnancy! — ZIYANDA DLAMINI, Grade 5A, 10 years old, Lusoti Primary School.


Sexual abuse can be stopped by not leaving young ones with people you don’t trust. Abuse could be avoided by the law which much put strong fires to abusers. Sexual abuse could be stopped by giving lessons to the public, teaching them about the consequences of abuse. Children who have no parents should be protected by government through building them homes so that they don’t fall in bad hands as they are orphans. Sexual abuse could be stopped by isolating the offenders from the the public, putting them in jail. Sexual abuse can also be stopped by preventing children from going alone at night as bad things occur during such ungodly hours. Relatives should not protect abusers claiming that they are family members instead of reporting them to the police so that justice is done. — Neliswa Magongo, Grade 4, 10 years old.


From faux love to early loss of virginity, to helplessness of the heart, to sickness and unfortunately to unplanned pregnancy. Sadly , it is girls that are mostly affected by this. Delaying sexual debut is being advocated in the world as a means to reduce HIV infection in young women. Early sexual involvement makes teen girls vulnerable to multiple relationships, reproductive health problems like cervical cancer that largely derail young girls’ lives, scarring them psychologically and emotionally. “Later is safer,” I strongly believe. There is no hurry in Swaziland, as Swazis would say, and indeed it is true. Avoiding sexual relationships before marriage or rather maturity may be one of the solutions. Thus, preventing unplanned pregnancy, pychologoical and emotional pain or problems, which are unnecessary. Being a mother at 15? A single mother, unemployed and homeless because your parents have chucked you out. No girl deserves such burden, pain, agony and distress. In conclusion, media campaigns encouraging delayed sexual debut as part of a comprehensive sexual education programme and abstinence messages is how I would make this dream come true for Swazi girls. LATER IS SAFER. — Nosimilo Simelane, 16 years old, Sitembiso Sebunye Bahai High School


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