Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Child - Yours to Rent or To Buy

In a joint investigation by Eyewitness News and Carte Blanche it came to light that Zimbabwean women living in the Johannesburg CDB are and have been, for a while, renting out their babies for a grand total of R20 a day to women who then take the kids out on the street to beg for money.

Any motorist will tell you how hard it is to pass a woman at the traffic lights who has with her a child, and not feel the slight tinge of guilt when you see the little body strapped on their backs in the blazing heat with no water or food. And it’s that guilt that’s these women prey on. According to the feedback reporters received, begging while holding a baby is very lucrative and can earn a woman up to R300 – R400 a day!

Elsabe Coetzee, founder of Siphumelele Childrens Home has been on a one-woman crusade to get these children off the streets to a safe haven and according to Occupational therapist Velda Frankim, who treats the babies and toddlers once they are in Coetzee's care, these “mothers" are deliberately harming these children by giving them alcohol, because when you give alcohol to a child they become compliant and “a child who is drunk will not cry when he is hungry because he is passed out," said Frankim. Not only that some of the children show signs of physical abuse with one little girl having had her toenails have been burnt off. She warned of short term life threatening medical effects and long term social implications.
As far as I see it these women are criminals and a disgrace to the nation on Zimbabwe and to women as a whole. Many people came down hard on me when I lashed out at these women. Many felt they had no other option and their actions are as a result of the fact that going back to Bob and Zimbabwe would be a far worse consequence. In my humble opinion, that is utter B/S! There are a lot of people in Zimbabwe who are struggling and yet would never think of resorting to the lows these women have exposed us to. Information that came from Elsabe’s files also show that these beggar women are recipients of care packages from Siphumelele, that they are given every week in-order to keep them and the children off the street and yet they still go back to the streets taking the children with. For a woman to come to the conclusion that putting their own child in harm’s way is a far better prospect than any other option they face is unacceptable. It screams of unfit parenting and a lazy mind. The same argument could be used for hijackers and murderers, that they too were faced with no options, so they resorted to putting others in harm’s way for financial gain.

I have to wonder if these baby-selling and renting women were back home, firstly, would they have been allowed to entertain that kind of thinking? Would anyone have provided them with that kind of opportunity to offer up your child for rent or sell to someone for muti? Is there something about the innate need to survive that has us acting even less than animals or is there something about being in a foreign land that has us lowering our standards? Is it a trait that is brought about by an environment or is there a criminal in all of us that’s just waiting for the right mix of circumstance to bring it out?

In my world these women would be found, jailed and deported back to Zimbabwe – a move that will have more positives than negatives. Let Bob and his band of merry geriatrics deal with the mess they have created. And once these women are there, they should also do time for the damage they have done to their children.

Am I being harsh, maybe. Am I being judgmental, yes. Do I care, absolutely not.


  1. Jeezus Bren - this is absolutely shocking. I want to vomit.

  2. "Am I being harsh, maybe. Am I being judgemental, yes. Do I care, absolutely not."

    Hear hear! and you have a duty to be harsh and judgemental in the face of such disgusting behaviour.

  3. i understand your indignation and frustration, but sending them "back to where they came from" is only passing the buck.

    Guilt has many faces, and entrepreneurs don't stop once they've found something that works well. it doesn't have to be a Zimbabwean baby. There are desperate (lazy? negligent? abusive?) Malawians, Mozambicans, Nigerians (yes, there are; they're not all drug lords, you know), and et ceterans with babies to make a buck off of.

    both the beggar ladies and the 'bad' mothers are to blame here. And we probably are, too, if you sit down and analyse it.

    if we identify a social ill, we must needs address the whole to rectify it, no? That is the basic precept of ubuntu, after all... or am i mistaken?