The following piece was written by Thembelihle Terry-Lynne Zulu.A woman who is brave, fearless, beautiful and who believed she could have it all.
There are choices
The story of the young Zimbabwean female student that caught HIV whilst studying at South African Fort Hare still haunts me till today. Her story is heartbreaking and yet young female students can learn so much from it.
We understand that we are living in harsh economic times and that most of our parents can barely afford the fees. This brings about the temptation to indulge in cross-generational, transactional sex. But this isn’t your only choice.
Girls are not the only ones affected by poverty and I ask myself, “How are the boys doing it?” I had a classmate that would go to Botswana during the holidays to go do manual labor so that he could pay for his fees. And another question pops up in my mind, “Are girls aware that there are other options but would rather take the easier way out?”
My father always said the shortcut is double the trip in disguise. Are we fully aware of just how much we are losing during these transactions? What benefit is it to a young lady to gain a degree but lose her health amongst other things? I understand there is positive living but wouldn’t you rather avoid the whole situation altogether?
I went to a workshop once where the speaker was urging young women to get an education. And this one girl stood up and said, “I want to go to school and finish my O levels but I can’t afford it.” The speaker responded by asking her, “How did you afford that weave, smartphone, and manicure.” At the time I thought she was blunt but she made a point. Some of the issues we face as young women are resultant from failing to live within our means. Failing to prioritize. Failing to plan ahead.
As future leaders, mothers and business moguls its imperative to see all these trials and tribulations during our college years as the acquisition of vital life skills that sharpen our problem-solving skills. Not everything will be solved by sex. And whatever is, isn’t gonna last. If you compromise on the quality of building materials there is no way your empire can withstand the environmental pressures.
Check out Thembi’s blog at www.thembiterry.co.zw