ID gender mix-up haunts pupil

Umfana George Kekana shows his birth certificate with a gender error. / SANDILE NDLOVU
Umfana George Kekana shows his birth certificate with a gender error. / SANDILE NDLOVU

A 19-year-old matric pupil fears that his dream of becoming a psychologist might not come true due to a gender error in his birth certificate.

Umfana George Kekana from Tshiawelo, Soweto, said he was worried he may not be able to write his end-of-the-year exams if home affairs did not fix the error.

The boy has been recorded as female in the certificate and has been struggling to fix the mix-up for years.

His grandmother Mantwa Kekana said: "Even though his name (Umfana) is only reserved for boys, home affairs still refuses to fix the error on his birth certificate."

Umfana is due to write his preliminary exams in September and said teachers had told him that he may not be able to write until the error was fixed.

Kekana told Sowetan she had been struggling for over five years to get help for Umfana to be declared male so she could get him an ID.

Umfana said the gender mix-up was frustrating him.

"As a 19-year-old South African, I could not even vote for the first time [in the recent general elections]. My peers took part in the elections and that pained me," said Umfana.

He said his worst fears right now was not being able to write his matric exams or even register for university next year.

"My dream is to become a psychologist because I love listening to people's stories and I find fulfillment in helping others... but now [my future] is blurred," he said.

Umfana was born at Tshiawelo clinic in 2000. He said when his mother applied for his birth certificate, it came back with the mistake.

However, Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona said Umfana will be allowed to write exams but that he would not get his results and matric certificate.

Home affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said the department was aware of the matter.

Qoza said the family had been advised to bring all relevant documents to the Orlando home affairs offices. "We will investigate why the case took so long because it was not a complicated case."

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