Child marriage still prevalent

Cultural practices in Namibia perpetuate gender inequality and the notion that girls are the property of men.

03 July 2020 | Cultural



A total of 7% of girls in Namibia are married before the age of 18 and 2% are married before their 15th birthday.

Although the law prohibits child marriage in Namibia, it is still practised under traditional arrangements.

According to the 2020 State of World Population, released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), child marriages are almost universally banned, yet they happen 33 000 times a day all around the world.

The report says at least 19 harmful practices, ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing, are considered human rights violations, but it focuses on the three most prevalent ones: female genital mutilation, child marriage and extreme bias against daughters in favour of sons.

According to the report, an estimated 650 million girls and women alive today were married as children, and by 2030, another 150 million girls under the age of 18 will be married.

“Eliminating child marriage would have enormous benefits for not only the empowerment of girls, but also for their health, education and well-being, as well as for communities and nations.” The report found that globally the prevalence of child marriage is around 21%.

The highest prevalence of child marriage is in West and Central Africa at 40%, followed by East and Southern Africa at 34%.

It added that in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, at least 10% of young women were married or in unions before the age of 15.

The prevalence of child marriage is decreasing globally, falling from about 25% in 2006 to 21% in 2018.

Harmful cultures

According to the Girls not Brides organisation, concerns have been raised that cultural practices in Namibia perpetuate gender inequality and the notion that girls are the property of men. Humiliation and violence against young girls are sometimes used to enforce submission and obedience in preparation for child marriage, it said.

“Generally young girls in Namibia marry much older men, which further emphasises power and gender imbalances within marriages.”

Namibia has committed to eliminate child and forced marriage by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Namibia is also one of 20 countries which has committed to ending child marriage by the end of 2020 under the ministerial commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.

A girl forced into an early marriage will in many cases drop out of school, dashing prospects for later earnings and autonomy. She may find herself socially isolated and prone to depression.

Unlike a boy in an early marriage, she may get pregnant whether she wants to or not, and before her body is ready, leading to a host of risks and consequences for her and her baby.

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 1 000 civil society organisations committed to ending child marriage.

Similar News


Broke government eyes reparation money: Rukoro

2 weeks 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

3 weeks 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

1 month - 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

1 month - 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

5 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

6 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

7 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...

'They want to oust me'

9 months ago - 08 September 2020 | Cultural

KENYA KAMBOWEKAPAKOMbunza Traditional Authority chief Alfons Kaundu says the reason why he dismissed three village headmen and an advisor in July was because they are...

ATKV-toekenning vir Pro-Ed

9 months ago - 01 September 2020 | Cultural

Die ATKV Duine-tak het in 2019 tien aktiwiteite vir die jaar aangepak. Dit was hulle besigste jaar nog, vertel mnr. Dentie Louw. “Ons het projekte...

Church advocates communism

11 months ago - 02 July 2020 | Cultural

ILENI NANDJATOONIIPAThe Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) is calling for redistribution of resources, jobs and salaries in order to avoid job losses during the...

Latest News

Starlile wins Winter Cup

12 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMIStarlile from the Okahandja Racing Club beat the likes of You Touch My Heart (second place) and Newton Spark (third place) to the finish.Starlile...

Bronze for Du Plooy

12 hours ago | Sports

Namibia’s triathlon champion Divan du Plooy took bronze at the just-ended African continental championship in Egypt.The Namibian was competing in the Under-23 category in Sharm...

Plot prices in Keetmans nearly...

12 hours ago | Economics

The Keetmanshoop municipality has dropped the price per plot in the new Brukharos extension to N$16 900 per plot for low-income earners to afford housing.The...

President too quiet in crisis...

12 hours ago | Health

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKFormer health minister Dr Richard Kamwi is among those who believe that President Hage Geingob’s silence, as the country endures its worst wave of...

Covid-19: Six SA tourists die...

12 hours ago | Health

NEWS24JOHANNESBURGSix elderly tourists died from Covid-19 after 37 out of 40 travellers on a bus trip in Namibia tested positive for the coronavirus.According to Netwerk24,...

Covid-19’s impact on sports

12 hours ago | Sports

Limba MupetamiThe effects of Covid-19 continue to flow through Namibia’s health, educational, financial, and commercial institutions and the sport sector is no different.Matches and competitions...

Won’t do it - Kanalelo

12 hours ago | Sports

KickOffThe former Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Fillemon ‘Ronnie’ Kanalelo worked at both Bloemfontein Celtic and Maritzburg United as a keeper trainer, and had his last coaching...

SA govt sells majority stake...

12 hours ago | Business

Nqobile Dludla - The South African government is selling a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA) to Takatso consortium, which will initially commit more...

EDITORIAL: President must address the...

12 hours ago | Opinion

The clarion calls for President Geingob to crawl from under his rock and provide leadership insofar as the deadly surge in Covid-19 infections is concerned...

Load More