Sexual and reproductive health rights are enshrined in the Constitution, but in reality, young women seeking contraception at clinics are often denied full access to these rights.
Palesa Mkhize is a 23-year-old graduate from Rhodes University. Like many South African women, she depends on the state health system for her reproductive and sexual health needs.
Mkhize has been using a contraceptive since 2015 when she began her studies. She went to the clinic on campus, where the nurse recommended she use the Depo Provera injection (Depo shot), which is administered every two months.
"It didn't feel like she was giving me a range of options. The way she presented it was like, 'All the young ladies are going on this contraceptive, you should too.' It felt almost like she was saying hurry up and get the injection."
Mkhize started using the injection but soon gained weight and had mood swings.
She stopped taking the contraceptive while on holiday because her local clinic did not stock it.
"Being on the injection was tough. I gained a lot of weight. So I decided to go on the pill. When I wanted to switch and wanted more options when it came to the...