Religion, philosophy, science and materialism play itself out on the streets of Cape Town every day. In Jewish, Christian and Islamic mysticism the primordial idea that you cannot know God without knowing yourself and vice versa continues to impact on our immediate reality.

Since 8% of all babies are born to girls under 18yrs, places teen pregnancy statistics beyond the customary prerogative of religion and morality. The 80 000 babies born every year to teenagers unable to manage the obligation, is a growing and a serious national financial and social problem.

The statistic places an added burden on rate and taxpayers that will carry on for many years. The increasing statistic suggests that municipalities responsible for clinics will in time, buckle under the strain. Since South African law allows children as young as 12 years old to use contraceptives without the permission of their parents, stopping teenage pregnancies is in our collective national interest.

It is evident that the education paid for by the taxpayer and the religious and cultural processes sustained by countless communities has failed to educate the 80 000 pregnant teens. Within all communities the ritual of marriage exists. Even gay people battled for the right to marry.

In Deuteronomy 23:2 it is written that “No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord. In Islam children born out of wedlock are not permitted to lead congregational prayer or inherit.

In the next 10 years our society will have a million babies born to teens. What values is society projecting onto pregnant teens and what sustainable outcomes will we generate for future generations. Since teen pregnancy is not new and remains unresolved, will teen pregnancies eventually become part of our cultural morality?

As a society burdened with endless welfare needs, should we feel sympathetic towards pregnant teenagers or should a tough love approach be more useful?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress