Sunday, October 25, 2009

Future of Africa's children at stake

By Shavaughn Haack

Sipho,* a beautiful baby boy and his twin brother were brought into the world at a Johannesburg hospital. This story should inspire hope and wonder for the future. But his status proves to be a tragic twist to the story; his mother is HIV positive and Sipho* is tested as positive due to his mother’s antibodies. Sipho* is also born with his legs next to his head, a condition that is not too uncommon and is operable. Yet because of his status, doctors don’t operate and he is abandoned in the hospital by his mother. When Sipho* is subsequently retested the results show that he is in fact HIV negative. A new challenge already awaits little Sipho*, where will the funding for this operation come from now? In the mean time, Sipho’s* development is delayed. The odds are stacked against him from the start.

As a student and a future member of the working population, I see the future of our country in dire need of help. Graca Machel says that all children are vulnerable, no matter the continent or country or community into which they are born. South Africa has the most AIDS orphans; these little people should have the opportunity to one day lead our country to great things but they are crippled by mistakes, traditions and lack of education of generations before them. We, as South Africans can no longer be apathetic about the AIDS pandemic and we have a social responsibility to pave the way for a better future for our country. So get involved, you can make a difference.