My birth certificate ordeal By Imelda Duduzile Moyo My name is Andile Moyo and I am 22 years old. I was born in South Africa and my parents split when I was 5.My parents were cohabitating and my father never paid my mother’s bride price and neither do my maternal relatives know my father. My mother had to send me to Zimbabwe so that I could be raised by my distant maternal aunt Sandisoso that my mother could get a job and support me and cater for all my needs. When I turned five I had to go to school and no school could enroll me with a South African birth certificate and I had to spend another year without going to school and because no one could enroll me, I had to use my cousin’s birth certificate and go to a totally different school so that I would not be caught. When I sat for my grade seven examinations I had to lie and I told my teacher, I had lost my birth certificate and I wrote my grade seven examinations. I passed my grade seven examinations and I went to form one at a local school. My mother passed away when I was thirteen and my dreams of having a birth certificate came crushing down. That is the time I discovered my maternal aunt I was living with was a distant relative and she could not help me obtain a birth certificate. My maternal aunt Sandiso tried to obtain a birth certificate for me but all her effort were in vain because she could not prove how she was related to my mother as they were distant cousins. At that time all my mother’s siblings were in South Africa and with time we lost contact with all of them. When the time came to write my O level examinations, I tried the story I had used when I was in grade seven and this time around, my headmaster would not budge and I had to drop out of school because I knew if I used my cousin’s birth certificate I would be caught and this would be the story of the decade.Dropping out of school meant that I had two choices to stay at home or get a job and since I could not get a job I had to stay at home and help with the household chores and this really broke my heart. About 3 years after dropping out of school I got in contact with my maternal aunt who could prove that she was my mother’s sibling. This was an enormous breakthrough but I had no know how of the next step to take next. A friend of mine told me about child line and I went to their offices to seek assistance. When I got to Childline, they referred me to Trinity Project where they assisted my by giving legal advice and giving me the money to go and register .I have since registered with the help of my aunt and I am waiting to go and collect my birth certificate. Next year, I am going back to school and I intend to write my examinations in November. I will have a bright future, thanks to Trinity Project.

Talk about irresponsible parents….and them contributing immensely to poverty

Growing up the only thought that came to my mind when I thought of parents was immerse love for their children, security and wanting the best for their children. But it is so shocking how this just changes especially when some of them go outside the country, to the famous “eGoli”. They always seem to forget about what made them leave Zimbabwe in the first place. They just forget that their children need to be fed, go to school, get clothes and get a descent shelter. I don’t know if there is something in South Africa that just brainwashes people and they just forget their responsibilities.

Some even have the nerve to even give their children to strangers called “omalayitshiya” to come and give their parents their babies so that they can take care of their children. I do not know who introduced the trend that grandparents are the ones that should take care of children instead of the child’s parents. What makes matters worse is that some of them even go to the extent of not communicating with their families to find out how their children are or if they are doing well at school. And they expect their children to squeal with joy when they come back from South Africa with absolutely nothing. Some even fail to just send their children’s health cards and some go to the extent, of changing their names and acquiring a different identity. Whatever happened to being proud of who you are and where you come from?

In some cases, the parents take off to the famous “eGoli” without obtaining birth certificates for their children. I mean come one who does that. I for one believe that this is irresponsibility at its highest level. How does your child go to school without one? I honestly do not blame children who despise their parents because their literally shatter their children’s future.
Not all children are gifted academically and some are talented in sports. No child is allowed to compete outside the school house competitions unless they have a birth certificate. Imagine the disgusted look on your child’s face when they are told that they cannot go and compete. If they are even unluckier they will not write their grade seven examinations, and if they are lucky they will not have any luck writing their Ordinary level examinations this leading them to drop out of school.
This usually results in prostitution, unwanted pregnancies, crime and a whole lot of other things because they cannot get any job anywhere because they do not have birth certificates which then enable them to get IDs.

If you did not know, the Birth and Death Registration Act states in chapter 5:02 Section 11 : 2 (a) states that provides that the registration has to be done within 42 days of the birth. The liability for registration is with the parents of the child.
I just wish something could be done to enforce this clause probably stiffer penalties so as to nudge parents in the right direction to registering their children before 6 weeks. This  would go a long way in shielding children from being vulnerable and cut down on the poverty rates and at the same time, not shatter our children’s future.

Also let us remember that it is the sole duty of the parents to register and not anyone else. Single mothers, I know there are those undecided fathers who take up forever to make up their minds whether the child is theirs or not. Just go and register the child on your own. Women are the ones that have the right to register their children on their own anyway. Let’s be responsible parents and protect our children.