South Africa: No proof of birth, no education

Published: 29/Mar/2018
Source: Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

By Bongekile Macupe

Sonia Sigauke was only 10 years old when she dropped out of school in Mozambique.

After seven years at home, aged 17, Sigauke came to South Africa to look for her mother. She had left Mozambique in 1986, leaving Sigauke and her younger siblings to be raised by their grandmother.

“I came to look for my mother because our clinic cards and birth certificates were with her — and the reason I dropped out of school is because I did not have those documents, which were needed at school,” Sigauke said.

“My grandmother tried to get us to school. But eventually we had to drop out because we could not produce the documents that were required. After dropping out, we lived in hope that my mother would one day come back and we could go back to school again, but she never did.”

Sigauke, now 38 years old, came to South Africa illegally in 1997 and the following year met the man who would become the father of her four children.

Even though he is South African and the children were all born in the country, like her they do not have birth certificates. Now Sigauke’s fear is that her children will also be deprived of an education because they do not have the necessary documents. Sigauke managed to get her three older children into school using their immunisation cards but, even as they progress, they face the risk of having to drop out because they have no other form of identification.

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Themes: Acquisition by children, Birth Registration
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2018