Last month MTV Base (SA) debuted the courageous documentary entitled MTV Shuga Presents 16 and Pregnant, a show designed to shed light on the reality of teen pregnancy in South Africa.
Teen pregnancy is hardly a minor issue in SA: according to government data, around 15 500 school-aged pupils fell pregnant during the 2015 school year in South Africa. With this sobering number in mind, Marie Stopes and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation have begun to create a platform for young South Africans to empower themselves through better sexual and reproductive choices. Part of this is through gritty and riveting edutainment like MTV Shuga’s 16 and Pregnant, and MTV Shuga ‘Down South’.
About 16 and Pregnant
This candid documentary, first screened in May on MTV Base (SA), follows three Mzansi teenagers who all faced teen pregnancy in SA.
Thato, Fanele and Nhlanhla each share their personal stories of rebellion, sex, love and coming of age in and around Rockville, Kliptown and Pretoria – all while pregnant. Barely out of childhood themselves, their stories are poignant, and also a stark wake-up call to other teens who may risk making life decisions that take them down a similar path. Their stories – raw, honest and uncensored – give viewers real-life insight into the challenges and tribulations of teen pregnancy.
Why is this show so important to the youth of South Africa?
So often, we hear about teenagers falling pregnant, but we never hear from them; we don’t get their first-hand, lived experience of being teenage parents.
“We hear a lot about young women and pregnancy in South Africa but not enough about the complexities of young people’s experiences and the role we all have to play in creating a truly enabling environment for teens growing up today,” says Whitney Chinogwenya, Brand & Communications Lead at Marie Stopes South Africa, as quoted by DSTV.
“We are glad MTV Base and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation are tackling this issue from young women’s real point of view. This series is important not only because it sheds light on pregnancy and parenting for young people, but because it does so in a way that allows for reflection, not judgment and support instead of stigma. I hope parents and other role models watch this with their kids and consider whether we are all doing enough to ensure young people have the tools they need, be that information, services or both, to make a full breadth of choices about their lives.”
If you’re facing teen pregnancy, there is somewhere to turn
MTV Shuga and 16 and Pregnant shine a light on challenges faced by young South Africans every day. But more than that, they provide a path towards healthier choices and a more empowered future for the youth of SA.
If you or someone you love can relate to any of these stories, check out the sexual healthcare services offered by Marie Stopes. Whatever you’re facing, you’re never alone – Marie Stopes is always here to provide safe, confidential and dependable services.