Interview with Basadi @ Work – “Basadi” means women so these are women @ work and as one member describes it, “We’re missioning!”
Zama (19), Thando (25) and Nokubonga (23) are all young moms. They each have a daughter, 4 years, 4 years and 3 ½ years respectively. Each has dealt with the challenges of being a young mom in a community where many young moms are rejected by the father of the child “Often there is no support from the father’s side of the family, so many young women raise their child alone.”
In March 2017, Basadi @ Work was launched. And there has been no slouching since then! This group sees a need and a fit with who they are, and they just go for it. Their passion and care are woven through all their responses as we talk.
Around the middle of 2017, Thando and Thembeka (not present at the interview), attended a Teen Moms process run by dlalanathi Community Facilitator, Gugu. In Thando’s words: “we fell in love with it (the Teen Moms process)!”
Thando and Thembeka then went on to run a Teen Mom’s process of their own, Zama and Nokubonga both attended this and were also impacted by it. When I asked what they have received from these processes, these were their responses:
“We were learning about how to raise our children, how to play with them, because sometimes as a mom you don’t have time to play with our children… but we learnt how important it is. We learnt not to shout at them or to call them names.”
“I learned how to grow my child and how to talk to her and how to respect her and how to see when something is not right. We talk to one another more now. “
“Every time I’m with my child, I get closer to her, I let her be friends with me and let her be free when she’s around me. Most of us grew up with our mothers swearing at us, calling us names so what we learned is that if we swear at our children, they will grow up not having a close relationship with us. I can communicate to my daughter that what she is doing is wrong, but do it in a right way – not shouting and swearing.”
Following this process, Nokubonga and Zama joined Basadi @ Work as members and together they decided that they wanted to continue bringing the messages around care, protection and parenting to young moms in their area. They are currently in the middle of a process with 9 local young moms. Here’s why they see it as so important:
“We decided to do Teen Moms so that we could talk and hear the problems of the young girls (some as young as 12 years old) and hear their problems and look for solutions together.”
“(We want) to see their lives changing. To take good things from what we’re saying to them and to do something with it.”
Basadi are really concerned about young girls dropping out of school due to pregnancy and passionately believe in education as a way forward.
“They need to go back to school, education is the key.”
“My advice would be to stay in school. Youth need to stand up and build their own future. Stay in school and push on. Education is key.”
“Even though you may be pregnant, don’t give up on life, don’t try to drop school, cos there is no need for that. Carry on, like me, I was pregnant and doing grade 10 but I didn’t give up. I always knew what I would like to become so I didn’t drop school. Don’t lose hope, when you know where you’re going, you become something.”
“For those who don’t see school as a key, they should push themselves and go back to school. If you’re not educated, life outside will be hard for you, so you need to go to school and learn. You need to know where you’re going and a things that you want to have in life. Not all of us are great at the books, we must look for what we’re good at.”
These are their messages of hope for young girls who may be pregnant and scared…
“Everyone is the best! Nothing can conquer you, you need to stand up for yourself and think about what’s best for yourself. Don’t let go of things that you do know means a lot to you – especially school.”
“Don’t lose hope, even if the situation looks hectic. Having support groups like this one, like Basadi and Teen Moms, where young people get together and talk about these issues. Form a group where you can debrief and come together when you need support. Invite those who have kids to come and talk about how they managed. Babies are a gift, if you’re pregnant you have been given a gift so you have to take care of and appreciate that gift. That baby didn’t ask to be born so parents need to take responsibility and try to provide to the best of your abilities. We are trying.”
What’s next for Basadi @ Work?
Continue to work with young moms. We also want to engage with the kids of the moms. We want to work with teens to prevent early pregnancies.
With the kids, we want to have sessions with them on how they feel around the community, whether they feel secure. Make them our friends, to tackle all the challenges that they face in their households. A few of them are starting doing drugs, so to help prevent this.