STREET CHILDREN IN GANTSI

Not long ago, on a visit to Gantsi, one of the most shocking sites for me was the number of street children who roamed about in the parking lot of local shopping complexes. Some asked for money from the shoppers.

Others offered to push trolleys in exchange for money, and others still were just hanging out, biding their time, it seemed. I know that any area is as safe as the safety of it’s most vulnerable. If the most vulnerable population in any community are exposed to circumstances under which there is great risk of their rights violations, then nobody can be said to be safe in that area. So seeing that many street children, as an outsider, told me that Gantsi is socio-economically struggling.

This is the beef central of the country. Where it’s situated in the middle of the Kalahari Desert positions it as a great part of our country’s history and the ancestral history of the first people in the country. It should be a tourist destination of note with the number of huge farms in the district. But stories are told about the continuing slavery that subsists in the farms; the endangerment of the farm worker’s health compounded by limited access to healthcare; and the layered discriminations and inequalities that go unrecorded, and unreported in the area. The people to whom the area belongs are some of the poorest in the country. These socio-economic vulnerabilities as well as the changing family structure in which women and children are heading households, create an environment for the large numbers of children who take to the streets, to fend for themselves.

Editor's Comment
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