OVER 2 000 ATTEND MAHAMBA GORGE HIKING

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OVER 2 000 ATTEND MAHAMBA GORGE HIKING
OVER 2 000 ATTEND MAHAMBA GORGE HIKING

Africa-Press – Eswatini. Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Thuli Dladla was among the over 2 000 people who attended the Mahamba Gorge hiking sport, held at Mahamba Gorge Lodge yesterday.

The 10th edition of the hiking sport was themed ‘Nkwe!! Let us invest in preventing gender-based violence’. Speaking during the event, Dladla said teenage pregnancy was a silent pandemic that the country was facing and it needed urgent attention. She said they were shocked by the recent reports that about 1 109 teenage pregnancies were recorded in a period of three months.

Teenagers

This, she said, was concerning, as the teenagers were young and protected by the Child Protection and Welfare Act of 2018. She further shared that the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act of 2018 criminalised sexual relations with minors. “The major question is who impregnates these children?” she wondered. Dladla said the people who impregnated minors should be brought to justice for contravening the law.

Interventions

The DPM called on all stakeholders, government, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, traditional and private sectors, as well as development partners, to invest and partner in all interventions aimed at preventing gender-based violence (GBV). The DPM wondered why people were calling for abortion instead of the perpetrators’ arrest first. She further shared that their observation suggested that a lot of people at orphanages were left by their mothers, most of whom were teenage parents, because they could not raise them. She further appreciated the Mahamba Gorge committee for their initiative of giving back the proceeds of the hiking to the nation. She further suggested that pupils be selected to observe the hiking and be challenged in a competition of their experience at hiking. This, she said, would produce stories of the hiking activity, so that future generations could learn about them.

The DPM then suggested that speeches of the event be done during the launch and let the hiking day be for networking. She was echoed by Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Jane Simelane, who said they were hoping that the hiking event would provide hikers with a platform to network, exchange ideas and reconnect with friends, among other things.

Mahamba Gorge Hiking Sport patron Themba Masuku said, when he was the regional administrator; he noted that the only events that took place in the region would be the national ones. He said he then came up with the idea of hiking as a sport, which has been growing in leaps and bounds.

Chief Executive Officer of Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture Stanley Dlamini said they were grateful for the event that saw artists perform for a large number of people. He called for the payment of artists when they performed, so as to lift the entertainment industry. There were different activities that took place during the event, including aerobics, Gospel music and different stalls of companies that were marketing their products.

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