15-year-old Sinhle Nkabinde says young girls, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, face a range of social challenges.
Nkabinde says young girls are affected by issues such as the burden of care, child-headed households, 'blesser' culture and peer pressure.
This leaves them at risk of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) and abusive relationships, she explains.
Nkabinde is a Grade 10 pupil from Mpumalanga and an ambassador of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament (NMCP).
She joined presenter Eusebius McKaiser and the founder of the Mina Foundation, Zaakira Mahomed, for a discussion to mark International Day of the Girl Child.
Mahomed highlighted other socio-economic inequalities affecting the girl child, including lack of education.
She says society needs to educate girls and provide them with skills, role models and tools for personal development.
I feel that if you call us young women, you are giving the platform to actually show what we can do.— Sinhle Nkabinde, member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament
We face problems with having relationships with older men, your sugar daddies and blessers. It's like a trend now for children that are disadvantaged at home in their communities.— Sinhle Nkabinde, member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament
Having sex at a young age also impacts the number of STIs being spread and teenage pregnancies for the wrong reasons.— Sinhle Nkabinde, member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament
Another thing I would have to highlight is succumbing to social media pressures... It can lead to a lack of self-esteem.— Sinhle Nkabinde, member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament
The girl child is now becoming the breadwinner and taking on more responsibility. How do we change that?— Zaakira Mahomed, founder of the Mina Foundation and Mina menstrual cups
We have to actively go out there and make the girl child understand that she matters to society.— Zaakira Mahomed, founder of the Mina Foundation and Mina menstrual cups
The fate of societies the world over depends in part on how we ensure that girls and women live flourishing lives.— Eusebius McKaiser, presenter
The guests and callers discussed the challenges, experiences and plight of girls in South African society.
Listen to the in-depth discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Blessers, poverty and peer pressure - teen talks issues affecting young girls