Tag Archive | child marriage

Age of Consent: Cause for concern

An average twelve year old is at school right now, in class, doing her math, content or reading a passage in ‘Nhaka Youpenyu‘ so that she writes her nzwisiso. She probably isn’t concentrating much because she is thinking of the weekend, the games she will play with her friends, or probably the new dress she will wear to church on Sunday and show off to her friends.
She is thinking of which cartoon to watch and what she will buy with the five rand she’s been given for pocket money. She will have to decide whether to buy a packet of jiggies, nibble naks or lollipops. That decision might even stress her out more than deciding which secondary school to go to next year. The thing she is considering first is whether the school allows them to plait their hair or not, whether the results at the school are good or not, she doesn’t care.
Whenever she throws a tantrum over failing to go for a trip, she can be tamed with chocolate or a day out at the long-chen plaza. That young girl who depends on her parents for everything, who is still tucked into bed and still doesn’t understand the reason behind having to bath twice a day, is the same little girl whom is being thought off as the girl who can consent to sex.

primary school children

primary school children

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ACCELERATING OUR COLLECTIVE EFFORTS TO END CHILD MARRIAGE IN AFRICA

At 22, I can’t imagine myself in a marriage, I feel I am still young, way too young. It breaks my heart going over the child marriage statistics every day, which are rising in all parts of Africa. Poverty has been the major cause of child marriages, which has left the young girls uneducated. Lack of education and hunger has led people to believe that marriage is the solution to their problems and marrying off their daughter will be a benefit to the family.

stop child marriage

When a girl child is born, especially in Africa, people ululate because it is a sign of wealth, she is going to get married and make the family rich with the cattle and the lobola whereas the boy child is taken as the one who is going to continue the legacy, hence the need to educate him. In other places, it is believed the boy child has more value to the family as compared to the girl child because after all, she is going to get married.

The problem then is that when poverty strikes, and there is no source of income, the only way to get something to live on at that moment is to give away their daughter to the highest bidder, with or without her consent, after all we are taught to obey. The young girls are married off to old men, men old enough to be their fathers, robbing them of their innocence at such a tender age.

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