Love Matters is an educational programme on sexuality developed by the Bosco Youth Centre in Randvaal, Gauteng that targets teenagers, and is the Salesian Fathers’ response to the need to prevent teenagers and pre-teens from eventually joining the estimated three in ten South Africans with HIV/Aids. The programme focuses on behaviour change around issues of sexuality; it sets out to influence young people’s value systems, their world perspective and hence their moral responses to the choices they are often faced with.
The video documentary Love Matters @ Bosco Youth Centre was filmed at the Bosco centre, a picturesque semi-rural setting with facilities for recreation and shows groups of young people on the intensive week-long programme, which is interactive, in facilitated group discussions on the pressures that they face as young people.
It shows them playing games and engaged in other activities that promote positive group dynamics. Individual youngsters speak on the effect the programme is having on them, and how they intend applying the lessons they have learnt to their lives.
Interviews are also conducted with Fr Francois Dufour SDB, Bosco centre’s director and a central figure in Love Matters’ design and development, and fellow Salesian Fr John Coleman, also a driving force in the programme.
They both explain how Love Matters promotes a lifestyle of self-respect, respecting and caring for others and placing sex, especially, within the context of marriage, a lifelong commitment of love, and not in risky sexual behaviour, thus calling for the spiritual grace of exercising abstinence.
In the process, they say, young people are made to understand and appreciate the gift of sexuality and what it is there for, which is to express committed love and to create new life, in the procreation of children.
Not only are youth groups from Catholic schools and parishes on the programme, but also youths from other denominations and faiths, who speak of how the teachings on commitment and celibacy resonate with much of what they are taught on the subject.
The Love Matters video would appeal especially to those involved in youth formation, catechetics, providing perhaps a useful basis for starting a Love Matters or related programme in their local schools, parishes, and so on, and to parents who are expected to have a say in the sex education their children are receiving.
The video can be obtained from the Bosco Youth Centre at (011) 949-2360 (tel) or e-mail email@example.com.