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This vicious cycle never ends

The recent incident, where a 25-year-old single mother of three children aged 4, 12 and the youngest just a month old, was arrested by the police and accused of child abuse and neglect, has shocked many self-respecting mothers of all age groups.

And because this incident took place a few days before Mother’s Day, on May 12, makes what happened to the woman’s three young children soon after midnight on May 11 indeed a sad and tragic experience for the single mother and her three children.

Angry neighbours later told the police, who were summoned to investigate the source of the chilling cries of children from one of the rented houses in the middle of the night.

By the time the police arrived at the scene, the desperate cries of young children coming from a locked house welcomed them. Attempts of the police and the neighbours to locate the owner were in vain, as no one knew where the mother of these three children had gone to. The key to the door could not be found.

It was well after midnight in the early hours of Saturday morning that the police finally traced the 25-year-old young mother to some dinghy nearby shebeen, accompanied by concerned angry neighbours. She was joyfully drinking and dancing with friends.

She was arrested, and the police brought her back to her house with her hands cuffed behind her back. On arrival home, she found her front door open and the lights in the main room switched on. A few of her neighbours had formed a mock guard of honour to welcome her back to her house where they stood on both sides of the entrance into her house.

Inside the house, she found her youngest baby comfortably cuddled in the arms of a smiling female police officer. The two older children looked relieved to be rescued by the female police officers from what could potentially have turned into a disastrous and deadly situation.

This was an image of the highest form of dishonour for the police officers and a fall from grace for the young woman the locals now call a single mother hustler who was working hard to feed her children.

It is incidents like these that make people suddenly realise how much the education system, together with parents, will have to revisit and re-set with innovations and provide an alternative future for the girl-child in our society.

What is more concerning is that this is not the first time that the media has reported about such an incident. These unfortunate mishaps do indeed happen a lot inside many informal homes in many different neighbourhoods.

Sadly, oftentimes, in less fortunate neighbourhoods, the outcome is always tragic and a life or two, sometimes even more, are lost.

Yet, it continues to be uncommon in the townships to come across a teenage girl, often barely 18, accompanied by two young children – both of them barefooted and shabbily dressed and barefooted behind their mother.

The vicious cycle never ends.

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