27-year old mother of nine, and four months pregnant

It is no secret that if standards of living are to improve on the Continent the rate of economic growth must outstrip that of the population. Sadly, Africa’s demographic transition continues to be a dream deferred. High (gendered) illiteracy rates, ignorance about (and church opposition to) contraceptives, antiquated cultural practices, among other things continue to reproduce all over the Continent crazy scenarios such as this in Madagascar: A 27-YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO HAS NINE CHILDREN AND FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT. This is insanity.

Quoting Donasine (said mother): “We are farmers, but without rain we were not able to grow anything. Every year I have another baby, and I am worried – I don’t have anything to feed them.” Add to this not being able to educate them or provide them with proper healthcare and you’ll see the utter abomination that is the continued anti-contraceptive movement in segments of African society. I am not saying that the Continent is over-populated. Far from it. China supports way more people with less arable land. What I am saying is that we are not in 10,000BC and therefore people should plan their lives better, and that it is the duty of government, the church and other relevant social institutions to ensure that people are aware of the alternatives they have. It is about time we stopped hiding behind culture and God and what not and see things for what they really are. Women like Donasine do not have ten children because they choose to do so. They are forced to do so by circumstances beyond their control.

For more on this check out Kristof at the Times.

2 thoughts on “27-year old mother of nine, and four months pregnant

  1. hey Ken,
    as you might know by now,i follow your blog religiously.its quite interesting.

    however i find your point/blameful suggestion that seems to be targeting the churches anti contraceptive policies quite out of line.

    i am not for them myself due to my own personal convictions but looking at a basic example such as that one you have quoted in your latest piece,i cannot help but wonder what that woman’s problem is.in her own words,she herself knows the disadvantage of having the number of children she has considering her circumstances.i honestly fail to see where the church and the government come in here.


  2. well Ndolo, glad that you are a fan. It is an undeniable fact that the church in most of the continent is against contraceptives or any forms of “artificial birth control.” I used the example of this woman in Madagascar to highlight the plight of other African women who are forced to live similar lives because they are not educated enough to know/afford existing methods of birth control and are doubly burdened by the churches’ teachings on the same. And this is where the government comes in. Government can provide pre and post-natal care in a way that enables women space their kids well. And men need to be involved too in order for them to realize the virtues of planning their families. I am not beating an anti-church drum here. I am just pointing out the fact that the church continues to bury its head in the sand as things fall apart.


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