As a parent, you try everything: counting sheep, sipping chamomile tea, reading…but your mind races and your anxiety levels don’t subside. The tossing and turning seem endless, and before you know it, birds slowly start chirping in the early hours of the morning. You lost another night’s sleep to worrying about your child’s future. Will your kids pass their exams? Will they eventually find a job? Of course, stress comes with the territory, but your fears are valid. There are many challenges and issues facing the youth in South Africa.
Celebrating Youth Month: An Opportunity to Reflect
The country celebrates Youth Month in June, honouring the fearless students who put their lives on the line for the sake of equality and justice during the Soweto uprisings of 1976. We also turn the spotlight on the young South Africans of today and reflect on our hopes and dreams for tomorrow. While we have a progressive Constitution that protects the rights of children, growing up in Mzansi can still be tough.
Empowering the Youth to Enforce Their Legal Rights
Understandably, there is a lot of responsibility that weighs heavily on the shoulders of parents who want nothing but the best for their children. Moms and dads have to navigate socio-economic issues and the fact that their child’s access to justice and the law often depends on them. It’s a struggle that LAW FOR ALL recognises. We work tirelessly to break down the barriers to justice and empower both parents and the youth to enforce their legal rights.
Ultimately, it’s part of our mission at LAW FOR ALL to eliminate those sleepless nights for parents and serve as reassurance that a just and equal society is certainly a possibility.
LAW FOR ALL’s #KASILAW Initiative
LAW FOR ALL is passionate about inspiring the legal minds of the future. So, in 2017, we launched the KasiLaw programme, which is a mentorships programme aimed at empowering learners in underprivileged communities. KasiLaw works with 43 learners between Grade 10 and Grade 12 from two schools, namely ID Mkize BCM High School and Oscar Mpetha High School situated in Nyanga East, Cape Town. Essentially, these learners are exposed to positive role models and Black professionals who mentor them and highlight how a career in the legal industry can change their lives.
LAW FOR ALL explores these hot topics this Youth Month:
With these write-ups on common issues facing the youth in South Africa, we offer parents and teens valuable advice on how to handle tough situations, the law and their legal rights.
1. Teenage Pregnancy
While teen pregnancy is on the rise in South Africa, the gravity of the situation doesn’t quite hit home until your teenager is the one revealing she is with child. While emotions might be high, it’s essential to take a breath, keep your anger in check and put your child first. Of course, there are going to be some difficult discussions about the way forward, so parents need to know what all the options are -whether the baby will be kept, terminated or put up for adoption- and if there are any legal implications.
2. Underage Drinking
Whether it’s through peer pressure or socials events, parents have to make peace with the fact that their children will be exposed to drinking alcohol at some point; in fact, an Aware.org survey found that 49% of high school learners have consumed alcohol. Underage drinking, which is illegal in South Africa, can have severe consequences, so parents need to not only have honest conversations about alcohol experimenting but also know what signs to look out for and how to go about addressing this issues facing the youth in South Africa.
3. Cheating in Tests & Exams
Considering all the socio-economic issues facing the youth in South Africa, it shouldn’t be too surprising that many try to take a few shortcuts when it comes to writing tests and trying to get a matric certificate with the hope of it leading to a better future. However, parents should warn their children about the dangers of cheating in exams as it can lead to disciplinary proceedings, expulsion or not being accepted to a tertiary education institution.
4. Paid and Unpaid Internships
It’s common to hear stories of recent graduates grinding away at an internship and carrying out the duties of a full-time employee. Often for very little, or in some cases zero compensation. This forces parents to step in and assist financially while their budding young professional tries to gain the necessary work experience. But with the cost of living rising, are unpaid or underpaid internships still even legal? Moreover, what conversations can parents have with their children about navigating employment and ensuring bosses don’t exploit them?
A brighter future for the youth of South Africa
We cannot lose sight of the fact that young people are our biggest hope to get our country to thrive and progress. Much like those brave students in 1976, it’s time for parents, society and Government to be bold and come together to make necessary sacrifices for the youth of South Africa.
We’ve Got Your Back!
LAW FOR ALL policies cover the main policyholder, their spouse, and dependent children. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can protect you and your dependents have a look at our family-friendly policies here.