Posts by Robyn

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,...

Home Affairs names and shames SA’s abandoned children

Home Affairs names and shames SA’s abandoned children

by Robyn Wolfson Vorster Child abandonment is a scourge in South Africa. As numbers soar, the battle is on to ensure that abandonment does not permanently define the lives of survivors. But those efforts are being severely hampered by the Department of Home Affairs’ decision to disclose to the public the abandonment status of some children. As a practice,...

Child abandonment in SA: hidden & heart-breaking

Child abandonment in SA: hidden & heart-breaking

by Robyn Wolfson Vorster Despite the occasional headline, child abandonment in South Africa remains largely unreported.  The little we do know reveals that it is both shockingly prevalent, and deadly.  So why is it so wide-spread and what can be done to prevent it, or at the least, minimise its impact? In the absence of comprehensive government-led research, it...

Fearing the foreigner: When child protection and institutionalised xenophobia collide

Fearing the foreigner: When child protection and institutionalised xenophobia collide

by Robyn Wolfson Vorster Adoption, like all child protection initiatives, is predicated on the principle of “the best interests of the child”. Except when it isn’t. In some significant matters, government agenda has overridden this tenet, at times with disastrous and even tragic consequences. One of the areas where this is most evident is “foreigners”: foreigners resident in South Africa...

A mounting tally of small bodies: Why are we killing our children?

A mounting tally of small bodies: Why are we killing our children?

by Robyn Wolfson Vorster Three recent cases of violence against children highlight the gap between what can be done and what is (or isn’t) done. The government often responds to such social crises on an advocacy level, whereas what is needed, and will make a difference, is a reaction based on policy and aimed at saving lives. South Africa...

An open letter to a racist

An open letter to a racist

by Robyn Wolfson Vorster   Dear Penny, We have never met but I have known you my whole life.  I’ve seen you in shops and on public transport, you have sidled up to me at parties, you even appeared at extended family gatherings when I was a child.  Perhaps you thought I was happy to chat, to hear you...