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ECape pupils learn about HIV/Aids at educational conference

By Afikile Lugunya - Jul 2, 2018
ECape pupils learn about HIV/Aids at educational conference

Learners from different schools across the Eastern Cape explored university life for three days at the Nelson Mandela University where they attended a conference organised by the Eastern Cape Department of Education and the Education Social Support Services Chief Directorate last week.

The conference aimed at creating awareness among learners about social ills that are affecting learners.

According to Lutho Hina (16), a Grade11 learner from Dalubuhle High school in Alice, the conference focussed on teenage pregnancy; how to deal with HIV/Aids and how to treat people with HIV/Aids as well as the dangers of drugs and substance abuse.

“The most important thing that we learnt is that us as men we discriminate boys who go to clinics to get a circumcision. We were told that we are all equal, we must not discriminate others,” he said.

“Teenage pregnancy cannot be controlled by contraceptives, but we must take a stand, as the teenagers, and say no to sex before marriage.”

He told RNEWS that when he gets to Alice, “the first thing I will tell my friends that you don’t have to be a bully or have many girlfriends, but we just need self-control.

“Even if you get infected with HIV, it lives in you, but it does not determine, who you are so we must not discriminate against others because they have HIV or Aids, but it’s good to know your status so that we can protect the coming generation.”

Mandilakhe Klaas, a learner supporter agent from Grahamstown’s Nombulelo High School, said: “My only wish is that these children can go back home to implement what they have learnt here.”

Meanwhile, Bonke Msuthwana, a Life Orientation teacher from Mthawelanga High school, said: “What really mattered for me is when the learners were taught the difference between sexuality and sex. For me, as a teacher, that was something that I didn’t quite understand until this conference.

“We were taught that we need to embrace sexuality in a holistic manner and for me that was something new.”

He added that the kids have a lot to learn, it would have been better if the conference was two weeks long.

“They enjoyed wearing their uniforms here more than they enjoy wearing it at school and I really don’t know what caused that, but what I witnessed here was really cool and amazing.”

Dimpho Letsekha (16), from Masakala Secondary School, said: “I learnt that HIV/Aids doesn’t discriminate against anyone can get it. It’s good for people to know their HIV status so that they can start taking their treatment.”

Zusiphe Sombo (18), Grade 11 pupil, said: “When a person has HIV that doesn’t mean that their life is over. What I also learnt is that God has plans with our lives, therefore to succeed, we need to respect ourselves and other people.”

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