Child brides as young as 11

Activist bemoans cultural views that see girls and women treated as possessions, as 18.4% of girls in Namibia are forced into marriage.

12 November 2020 | Cultural

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Women's rights activist Rosa Namises has condemned the commodification of teenage girls being 'sold off' into child marriages by their impoverished families, denying them a right to a childhood.

Namises' criticism comes in the wake of the gender ministry's latest child marriage report, which states that the prevalence of child marriage among girls in Namibia is 18.4%, while that for boys it is considerably lower, at 4.1%.

By region, the highest prevalence of child marriage among girls was reported in the Kavango regions at 39.7%, while Kunene reported 24%, Zambezi 23.8%, Omaheke 23% and Otjozondjupa 22.6%.

The report also states that the sexual debut for adolescent girls in Namibia is between 12 and 17 years.



We have failed

Namises yesterday said these high numbers suggest that women's rights groups have failed in educating communities about the rights of children and women.

She said marginalised communities such as the San and Ovahimba are most at risk because of their deeply-rooted cultural beliefs. “It is a cultural belief that a woman must be sold off or lobola'd off and married into another family, which sees her as a possession. We have not done enough to make an impact and to educate these communities about children's rights and women's rights,” she said. During the launch of the study, gender minister Doreen Sioka said the earliest age of first marriage or cohabitation is estimated at 11 years.

“This is worrisome because the study also found other emerging issues of concern, which includes the high rates of cohabitation among teens and teenage pregnancies. “We need to stop these trends because these are children we are talking about. The state of child marriages in Namibia has not been systematically investigated to fill that gap,” she said.

Sioka also condemned well-known traditional rituals, including the holy fire celebration of womanhood, arranged marriages and Olufuko, as harmful rituals. According to her, most of these practices take place at puberty and are primarily focused on preparing the girl for adulthood and marriage.

“The consequences of child marriage are grave, because findings indicate some cases of gender-based violence (GBV), poor educational attainment, poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, deprivation of childhood experiences and abandonment by husbands,” she said. Gender activist Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi echoed Namises' sentiments that little is done to address the problem.

“We talk too much about GBV, and do little about it.

The 'fight' against GBV is a joke as long as no real resources are dedicated to it. Where are the dedicated budget codes for gender equality? Where are the dedicated champions of this campaign? Where are the leaders of Namibia leading the country in modelling healthy relationships?” he fumed.

Similar News

 

Uukwangali chief yet to apply for recognition

3 weeks ago - 06 July 2021 | Cultural

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUIt has been seven months since the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Uukwangali Chief Eugene Siwombe Kudumo to be recognised by the state,...

Ovaherero foundation hits back at local Germans

1 month - 23 June 2021 | Cultural

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKThe Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) has hit back at the Forum of German-speaking Namibians, which recently rebuked threats that Namibian descendants of German genocide...

Vaalgras chief against genocide pact

1 month - 16 June 2021 | Cultural

ELIZABETH JOSEPHKEETMANSHOOPVaalgras traditional community leader Reverend Andreas Biwa has labelled the N$18.6 billion reparations package for the 1904-1908 genocide as unfair.According to Biwa, he shares...

Broke government eyes reparation money: Rukoro

2 months ago - 27 May 2021 | Cultural

NAMPAWINDHOEKThe Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) have rejected the purported deal struck by the Namibian and German governments over reparation...

Hai //Om traditional authority under siege

2 months ago - 18 May 2021 | Cultural

ESTER KAMATIOUTJOMembers of the Hai //Om community staged a peaceful demonstration at Outjo yesterday where they demanded the removal of the traditional authority, especially Chief...

German-speaking Namibians want to be heard

2 months ago - 11 May 2021 | Cultural

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKGerman-speaking Namibians recently launched a platform called the Forum of German-Speaking Namibians (FDN) which aims to give a voice to the multi-ethnic community.Through the...

Rehoboth Basters fight over Kaptein

3 months ago - 16 April 2021 | Cultural

JEMIMA BEUKESREHOBOTHA group of disgruntled Rehoboth Baster Community members yesterday protested the "irregular" election process of the Rehoboth Baster Kaptein slated for 24 April.The group,...

Baster community leaderless and divided

7 months ago - 15 December 2020 | Cultural

AUGETTO GRAIGREHOBOTHThe Rehoboth Baster community is divided over who should lead them after the death of Kaptein Barney Buys on 27 November.Buys had only recently...

I remain chief of Vakwangali – Kudumo

7 months ago - 09 December 2020 | Cultural

KENYA KAMBOWEKAHENGEEugene Siwombe Kudumo says he remains the chief of the Vakwangali tribe despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary.Kudumo labels those who are...

Child brides as young as 11

8 months ago - 12 November 2020 | Cultural

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEK Women's rights activist Rosa Namises has condemned the commodification of teenage girls being 'sold off' into child marriages by their impoverished...

Latest News

Weekend recap: Gazza postpones ‘Messiah’...

9 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE WINDHOEK A day before he was meant to drop his 13th studio album, Gazza announced the postponement of ‘Messiah.’ “My mind, spirit...

We move - Jonas

21 hours ago | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa Namibian boxer Jonas Junias Jonas has hinted at a move...

Nathanael dethroned by ‘dodgy’ decision...

21 hours ago | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy promoter Nestor Tobias has revealed that the academy will wait for...

Electricity production capacity needs to...

21 hours ago | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU For the month of June 2021, Namibia mainly imported its electricity from Eskom Aggeneis, Zesco-Firm Zambia and ZPC-Zimbabwe due to a decline in...

South Africa’s Eskom in a...

21 hours ago | Business

ALEXANDER WINNINGA debt crisis at South Africa's struggling state-owned utility Eskom could be solved by an agreement for government creditors to write off some of...

Swapo sidesteps democracy

21 hours ago | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKThe questionable re-appointment of Paulus Noa as chief of the Anti-Corruption Commission...

China worries about terrorist attacks

21 hours ago | Police

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKThe Namibian police and other units in the country’s security cluster are on high alert after a bomb attack in...

Covid: Third wave not over...

21 hours ago | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKWhile new cases have slowed down, authorities have cautioned Namibians not to let their guard down in the face of...

Can we please find a...

21 hours ago | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa This on and off sport in Namibia reminds me of stories I heard about relationships which are...

Load More