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It feels great to hear stories of people who have finally seen the light about procreation

By Nina Steele 

Childless AfricansI was having a chat with my mother the other day. She lives in the Ivory Coast, and so I make a point of phoning her once a week. She often likes to tell me how people I knew growing up are doing and in our conversation last week, she mentioned an acquaintance, who only has one child. When my mother asked the said acquaintance whether she was planning on having more children, her answer was that one child was all she could afford. She had my mother in stiches when she went on to add that looking back, even one child was too much.

In spite of being from a generation where no one batted an eyelid at a woman having 10 children, my mother believes that because the economic situation in the country is so dire for so many people, it is a matter of time before the trend for having only one child becomes widespread, at least as far as urban areas are concerned.

Although Africa as a whole may still have some way to go before reaching a stage when it becomes acceptable to do away with having children all together, the fact that having one child is embraced, is very encouraging indeed.

I wrote about the need to curb population growth recently, and Africa particularly still has some way to go. Indeed recent figures suggest that: “Africa remains the region with the highest fertility at 4.7 children per woman”.

The rise of shanty towns in urban areas is testimony of the kind of hardship people face when they choose to leave rural areas in search of a better life in the cities. Who wants to raise lots of kids in such conditions? And so, inevitably, people have no choice but to adjust to the socio economic realities in front of them.

The sad truth about poverty, particularly in the developing world, is that, a lot of it can be alleviated if people had fewer children. For far too long, people have hidden behind tradition and outdated customs to have children they know they cannot afford. However, modern living comes with trade-offs, and one of those trade-offs is having fewer children. It is a matter of time before the trend starts to switch from having fewer children to having none at all.

Childfree African women

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