Limpopo doctors

Limpopo MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

Ramathuba’s ‘open your books,close your legs’ speech ‘needed saying’

MEC Ramathuba says her ‘open your books and close your legs’ speech aimed at school girls ‘needed to be said’.

Limpopo doctors

Limpopo MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba. Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has doubled down in defence against backlash. This comes after the politician prompted outrage for advising school girls to “open their books and close their legs.”

Close your legs Limpopo Health MEC Ramathuba
Limpopo MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathuba – Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

‘Open your books and close your legs’

Ramathuba was dragged after telling school pupils to open your books and close your legs’ in a controversial attempt to address teenage pregnancy.

Naturally, the comment quickly went viral as people condemned the MEC for the harsh remarks. However, Ramathuba has since firmly held her stance on the matter and insists that the video had been taken out of context.

The MEC is adamant that her full speech had not targeted female scholars alone and that she had shared a message for boys as well. In defence of her comments during an interview, she slammed those who had criticised her on social media following the incident. . 

“There is no Twitter parent who is dealing with the problems that we are dealing with. The children that were delivered in our hospitals, who are teenagers, their parents are not on Twitter,”

Furthermore, the MEC justified her comments by pointing out that she needed to assist children from disadvantaged households.

“Teenage pregnancy is rife among the poor and working class. The affluent do not understand. My children and their children [the Twitter parents] know everything about reproduction because we sit with our children and explain things like menstruation, menopause, protective sex… we even teach them what is an orgasm,” 

“Whereas, the children I’m dealing with … these are the children who are often orphaned, raised by grannies or from child-headed families. Children who are on their own,” 

It needed to be said- Ramathuba 

Ramathuba says that she has reflected on the numerous messages in reaction to her comments. She challenged citizens to watch previous addresses she had delivered and see if their opinions remain unchanged.

“What I was saying there was exactly what needed to be said to the girl child. You develop slogans because it’s short and striking.”