Posts by Robyn

Adoptions in KwaZulu-Natal: Control, collateral damage and unintended consequences

Adoptions in KwaZulu-Natal: Control, collateral damage and unintended consequences

Robyn Wolfson Vorster After 18 months of agonising stalemate in KwaZulu Natal adoptions, two vulnerable children, a questionable social development decision and a landmark High Court ruling may have paved the way for adoptions to resume in the province. But in the strange world of government’s unintended consequences, inter-country adoptions could now be easier than local ones. It surely...

Dirty tricks, delays and deception: The sabotage of child protection

Dirty tricks, delays and deception: The sabotage of child protection

Robyn Wolfson Vorster In May 2016, the Department of Social Development called an immediate halt to adoptions in KwaZulu-Natal over alleged child trafficking. A year later, and despite an ugly witch hunt against one local family, the assertions remain unproven. But the adoption process in the province with the highest number of orphans has been radically altered. The new...

The aftermath of child abandonment

The aftermath of child abandonment

There are very few stories told about how it feels to be abandoned at birth.  It makes Sindi’s amazing account of being aborted and abandoned when her mother was six months pregnant even more powerful. Miraculously, she survived her abandonment, and is now in her 40s. Despite her prematurity and a very unsettled childhood, where she was moved from one...

Social Development: Going to hell in a handbasket

Social Development: Going to hell in a handbasket

Robyn Wolfson Vorster   Over the course of the Social Grants crisis, the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini was accused of incompetence, ulterior motives and most famously of showing “disdain for the country’s most vulnerable”.  All appear apt, but it is disdain for the weak and the poor that has most characterised the recent debacle, and her tenure...

Sounding the death knell for adoption

Sounding the death knell for adoption

Robyn Wolfson Vorster The 2016 World Adoption Day celebrations are proving muted, overshadowed by the election soap opera in America, and here at home by the crushing disclosure that there were only 1,165 adoptions last year. In a country with 3-million orphans and tens of thousands of crisis pregnancies annually, adoptions have stuttered and, in some cases, stopped. While...

The deadly power of patriarchy

The deadly power of patriarchy

by Robyn Wolfson Vorster In the few short weeks of 2017, the world has taken a lumbering step backwards in the battle against patriarchy, thanks largely to America’s new president and his unlikely ally, Russia. But here in South Africa, despite a female presidential aspirant (or two), and the president’s undertakings to advocate for women, the situation re patriarchy...

All they want for Christmas is a family

All they want for Christmas is a family

This Christmas many of the 21,000 children living in 355 registered Child and Youth Care Centres dotted across South Africa (and even perhaps some of the 2,000 living in 115 unregistered ones) will receive gifts from companies, schools and kind-hearted strangers. But who are these children and why are they in care this Christmas? Behind the statistics are little...

Families for the lonely

Families for the lonely

For the sake of my family and my sanity, I work hard to keep the emotion of what I do at bay. This week it all unravelled over a cup of tea, a cuddly yellow bunny and an innocent question. The week started with a chat with a formidable member of the National Assembly. As we sipped our tea,...