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Opinion: Looking for a safe environment for children

MISA-Swaziland e-Forum article

The below article on MISA-Swaziland’s e-Forum is written by Thandokuhle Khumalo, legal officer at the Manzini-based Swaziland Association for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of Offenders (SACRO).  
The e-Forum is an ‘online space’ for news and information on, for, and by Swaziland’s civil society and NGO sector; and for more general news and information on media freedom. The e-Forum is a practical expression of MISA-Swaziland’s mission to promote free speech and access to information.
Read on for Thandokuhle’s take on raising children…

Questioned on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution in the appeal case of Shaw v DPP sparked off by the fight between law and morality, the Wolfendenn Committee Report argued that the law should always protect the young children who are weak in mind and vulnerable.

This meant that young children should not be exposed to or subjected to an environment that would ordinarily lead to their poor development or worse, becoming criminals. What is then the role (im)morality can play when children are within the vicinity of same and not knowing what is happening.

Look at the way Africans are so eager to copy and at times holistically implement the European systems of governance, human rights and gender equality which may ordinarily be African but draw a line between our ways of life as Africans. A good example is that of homosexuality, lesbianism and the other ‘unaccepted’ forms of behaviour. Such acts are not only condemned by the popular majority but were first condemned by the Bible which we uphold as Christians.

We have, as Africans, copied the way of life from the West which duped us since inception. All I can safely say is, it will not work. You may ask why. We have an in-born African way of life which we have been implementing successfully whereas the Western system fails us.

Frankly speaking, I do not have something against these marginalised homosexuals. But homosexuality adds no value to the proper upbringing of a child. The Holy Bible has mentioned it explicitly on the incidence at Gomorrah and Soddom that a man shall not be attracted to another man and the same applies to the feminine species. Mixing child upbringing and homosexuality does not work.

Mine is not a ‘hate speech’ but I’m addressing my own societal concerns. I have nothing against these groups. As we adopt the Western governance we should be wary of what it may do to our children. Picture this, two gay men raising a child together and two lesbian women raising a child together. Is that the kind of system we want our society to adopt?

In as far as human rights are concerned, every right has a limit; in the sense that, I cannot exercise my right at the detriment of the other’s right. In short, where my right ends, another person’s begins. As we may wish to establish an enabling environment for the homosexuals, we should also open our minds on incidental matters similar to the example above.

A study done by Dr. Qandelihle Simelane has shown that children growing under a family without the male figure are prone to crime than those with the male figure. Think then of a child with two lesbian mothers, we could be detonating a land mine.

It is the same Western system that has made our countries sign, ratify and domesticate international standards on the protection of children. To me it is clear that we need to be cautious of what we adopt, and be assured that it will work for us and be sustainable. Look at what happened in Libya, now what is happening in Egypt and what has happened in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Need I say more here, ibhasi ibhaliwe (the writing is on the wall).

Human rights are fine. Is it every right that we want to uphold in total disregard of the child’s? I am sure that as a nation we would rather have a child’s future put forward through proper structures being put in place, which make the environment child-friendly and worth the praise.

This is to say as parents we need to be cautious of what we adopt or bring to the face of our children. Similarly the state must establish or destroy mechanisms intending to corrupt our children. It is after the child’s right to be brought up in an environment that will enhance his/her development.

Khumalo is a legal officer at the Manzini-based Swaziland Association for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of Offenders (SACRO). For further information, his telephone number is +268 2505 2172 and email is sacromanziniandmbabane@yahoo.com

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2 thoughts on “Opinion: Looking for a safe environment for children

  1. Homophobia by any other name is homophobia and smells as bad. As a lawyer myself, a sense of shock and dismay envelopes me as I mull over this article and realise that there can be a lawyer who expresses such naivety on a human rights issue, particularly, and human rights, generally.This is not a matter off being entitled to one’s opinion as it is a matter of not being entitled to the facts. On behalf of this lawyer I am embarrassed.

    • Human rights are clear,they have a limit especially when another person’s right is at stake. I am talking here about children’s rights, about how as a society we may perceive our rights to be important than those of children. I am talking here about how ignorant we can be in advancing our own selfish desires to the detriment of children. I did mention that homosexuality exists and there is no harm in that, but do we want to incorporate it into a family set up, where a child will be adopted and raised under same? Perhaps we need to re-think how we want our rights endowed upon us. Homosexuals like all people are entitled to the same rights since they are also human beings, but I do not think they have the right to destroy the development of a child when the environment the child is exposed to totally disagrees. You speak of embarassment, I am embarrased myself how we do not want to think outside the box.

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