Sex Education in Africa: Why It Matters


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“Parents must really get involved in actively teaching and educating the girl child about the physical, emotional and social changes they will experience as they grow up and what to expect from boys and life in general.”

Having just done her hair yesterday, she takes her time to apply makeup this morning. Putting on her new jeans and T-shirt while looking at the mirror, she gives herself a smile of confidence because she looks beautiful and she knows it.

She heads out to the school campus and on seeing her “the boys” can’t resist – you look smashing, you look gorgeous, girl you look hot – the boys make passes at her. She is full of smiles and walks with an air of confidence. But with all this attention, she is still naive…

She has no clue why the boys are always lurking around, wanting to take her out on a date. She thinks they really like her, some even go as far as to profess their love to her and she impulsively believes them.

This is the state of so many young girls today. They see the boys all over them wanting their attention, but do not really know that, what the boys want from them is sex…

This is because they have no knowledge or lack sufficient information on how to handle all the attention and pressure that comes from boys.

Even the young boys themselves do not fare any better. They like to hang out with friends and almost all they talk about is – girls.

They talk about the new girl in class, how she walks, how she talks, how she smiles… They make bets on who among them, she is going to fall for first.

This gist goes on for hours about different girls in the class, which one is beautiful, which is ugly, which is easy, which is mummy’s pet etc. Their minds are full of girls.

The boys are also naïve on how to handle the pressures of “Physical Attraction” that is triggered in them when they sight GIRLS. So they do everything they can think of to “woo” the young pretty girls, and their major weapon is – “sweet words”.

One of the reasons that girls fall easily to the “sweet words” from boys is because that could be the first time their looks have been appreciated. So when complemented by boys, the girls do not know how well to respond.

A girl whose parents have consistently showered her with praise, love, affection and appreciated her good looks, will not easily fall for the antics of sweet words coming from boys.

While growing up, she has already heard those words a thousand and one times, coming from those who truly love and respects her – her parents. Every time she dresses up, her father tells her, you look beautiful today, you look like an angel. He does not stop there. He buys the dress for her and sometimes helps her to dress up properly.

These actions coming from a strong male figure in her life has greatly boosted her confidence level and because of this, she is not easily carried away by any guy who commends her good looks or her beautiful outfit.

Parents must really get involved in actively teaching and educating the girl child about the physical, emotional and social changes they will experience as they grow up and what to expect from boys and life in general.

They must be taught how to appreciate their unique sexuality and given good sex education, which is contrary to the attitude of most parents who feel very uncomfortable, do not know how to initiate this discussion and would rather avoid the topic altogether.

This leaves the child ignorant, naïve and vulnerable to the definitions, actions, and experiences of peers, social media and sexual predators.

Research has shown that children with better sex education, especially those tutored by their parents, have a better handle dealing with sexual advances, misinformation and harassment coming from the opposite sex.

This “sex-talk” is usually easier when parents have taken time to develop a very healthy loving relationship with their children and the children feel comfortable to ask questions and discuss anything freely with their parents.

The recent news of a 14year old boy been forced to marry a 15 year old girl who he got pregnant went viral on the internet. What is more disturbing about this case is that both the parents of the teenage boy and girl were involved in this arrangement. This tells us the level of ignorance even among parents about the developmental needs of young boys and girls.

Young people are under so much pressure today to “belong” in other to gain acceptance from their peers, thereby forcing them to engage in acts to validate this desire.

Both for boys and girls, they are pressured to engage in a sexual relationship, thinking this looks “cool” and makes them more desirable, not fully comprehending the consequences of their actions.

For a girl, she gets pregnant and the boy becomes responsible for a baby he is not mentally, emotionally and financially ready for. This is why it is so important for parents to continuously validate the self-worth of their sons and daughters so that they don’t need to seek it from outside.

For a girl she should be reminded at every moment that she is beautiful, intelligent and loved by her parents. She doesn’t need to try to gain acceptance of others to feel important.

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