#ChildMarriages: STUDENTS SPEAK THEIR MINDS

THE SUNDAY MAIL BRIDGE reporter BRYAN ZHAWI (Mufakose 2 High, 2014) hooked up with students and young persons, popular for different talents, who are advocating against Early Child Marriages through their respective organizations. It’s no longer a taboo to many when one gets married at a tender age as it is socially being accepted and this is what children are striving to put a stop to.

Below are the responses from the youngsters to a question “What is your understanding of tradition in as far as marriage is concerned? And should we keep our tradition or move with time?”

 

Chipochashe Nehohwa

Honourable Junior Councillor

Christ Ministries High School (Upper Six)

“Traditions should be kept and observed only if they benefit the people practising them. Early child marriages, as proven, are a catastrophe, hence they should be done away with. They without question deprive a child of his/her youth, which is a very essential phase for one to experience. It is a period of realisations that moulds an individual into a person of their own choosing, something children never experience because of the burdens of responsibilities imposed on them by marriage.

The girl child at most deals with the excruciating pangs of domestic work and motherhood at a time at which she should be learning how the world offers a lot more. She has slim chances of an education because on top of motherhood she has a husband to please and a field to till.

Healthwise it has been proven that one of the major contributors to the spread of STIs and other fatal diseases like cervical cancer, is child marriages, simply because young children are exposed to “acts” meant for older and mature people at an inappropriate age.

The practice or tradition has in most cases been taken as a panacea to family poverty thus the rights of a child to an education and freedom of choice etc are suppressed to benefit those who are already mature.

It is therefore, best that we move on with time and educate the children into becoming positive contributors to the society, and to empower the girl child into knowing that the world offers a lot more than motherhood and marriage.

 

Wayne Banda

U6 Midlands Christian College

Gweru Junior Mayor

Many of our elders tend to believe that we as children tend to make unnecessary noise, but honestly this is a stand that we shall not back down from. We shall continue to tackle the bull by the horns until our vision is realized, the dream of a free and proud Zimbabwe, free from child abuse and most importantly free of early child marriages.

Ending early child marriages is something that not only us, as the youth have been trying to eradicate for the past few years but the nation as a whole. Dr Amai Grace Mugabe, our mother did mention a few months aback that, child marriages which we have been trying to eradicate are now at 31% as we speak, and that is one of the largest percentages in the world at present.

We as the Gweru Junior council have had a great campaign in alignment with this great cause having debate sessions at Chaplin high school where hundreds of students attended from various schools such as Nashville, Thornhill, Fletcher etc which I believe are paramount to the success of such campaigns as they inform and educate not only students but teachers as well of this problem we face as a nation.

We even had a clean-up demonstration on the 1st of August with various organizations in the mix with help from EMA, ZYPDC, also including our MP Miss Muzondiwa, His worship H. Kombayi, the mayor of Gweru to name a few. We not only want our voices to be heard but for action to be taken.

Furthermore as the Junior mayor of the city of Gweru, our city of progress, I am saying let us put a stand against child molestation, child abuse and most importantly child marriages and all impurities eating away and diminishing the standards of our nation Zimbabwe. As the old saying goes “together we stand and divided we fall “, many that know me would know that I believe one man can change a community but a united people can surely change a nation.

 

Ziko Silence

Honorable Juniour Councillor

I say let’s keep our tradition over time, because time in this instance is asking us to behave like rejects and people of an uncivilised life. Tradition however guides us in our day to day lives, behaviours and way of thinking that is positive. If we follow time and we all become mothers at the age of 13, then lets prepare to face poverty, illiteracy and overpopulation.

Tradition gives a girl the right and freedom to be academically and socially independent for its giving the girl child a time to grow and then develop into a woman who can be married then. In conclusion I would say that early child marriages are built on lust and mistakes caused by a force of maybe temptation or severe financial crisis’.

Maybe by a few individuals who see girls as products and means to make money, but such people must be reminded that a mango is better eaten ripe. Children don’t let uneasy situations take your pride away. Don’t aspire for marriage at a young age stay away.

 

Yollanda Chimbarami

Honorables councilor

Miss Harare Junior 2014-15

Westridge High School

We need to keep and follow our tradition but with a few changes, early child marriages should be aborted and the issues of suppression should also be eliminated.

A large part of the Zimbabwean population remains extremely hostile to abortion rights and efforts to

decriminalise the Act. Statistics show that thousands of women are dying every year from complications associated with abortion while more than 80 000 terminate their pregnancies illegally, of which most of the victims are teenagers

Why is this so? Simply because we have given room to early child marriages, I strongly suggest that we should go back and revisit our old traditions. Early child marriages lead to an increase in the number of school drop outs.

If we are to support early child marriages then the government should build schools that will cater for pregnant teenagers or school going mothers.

 

Tatenda gumbo

Ex-honorable junior councilor

Hip hop Artist

GlenNorah 2 High (2014)

Every nation has its own culture and pride is taken from that original culture, so as Zimbabwe -who really are we? Where are we coming from and where are we going? If only we could answer that then we would have no problems. Early child marriage is just the same as child abuse and undermining the girl child. Her future and her life is being taken for granted and of no use at all. Women have proven to be of value to our society so let’s give them an equal opportunity as men.

Education is power, Early marriages are nothing but a distraction to us the future leaders!

 

Bester ‘Be A Star’ Ndoro

Former Junior Councillor, Chairperson of Child Protection Committee ward 15

Beatboxer

Warren Park High school (2014)

I think we should move with time because our tradition somehow only benefited the elderly as the young people where not given a chance to make a say in the custom of life back then. Also some of the traditions are detrimental for example the issue of appeasing the spirits which is one of the main factors encouraging early child marriages.

We should also put into cognizance that our tradition does not fit anymore in this world we living in as it has become a global village so most of the things we do must be in line with the days we are living. If my thoughts only disapprove the use of our tradition I will be wrong but it is imperative to note that because of the deterioration of our culture caused by different western influences teenagers have been forced to jump into pre-marital sex just to maintain the social standards therefore resulting in early child marriages. In conclusion I will say our values are always right as long as we live them right and just as everything is changing let’s revisit our tradition and right all things.

 

Eustance Mushangwe

Junior Senator (2013)

National University of Science and Technology student -Journalism

This question calls for people conversant with this modern world. The changing times disqualify traditional child marriage customs coming into existence these days. Moving with time will be of great significance in this world due to the societal values that people have adapted in today’s generation. These values include education and the emancipation of women. Most of today’s young girls have disengaged from the societal stereotypes of early marriages due to the fact that they are well informed of the demerits of early marriages. Demerits that include exploitation and suppression. It is crystal clear that people should maintain the status quo of moving with time because women of nowadays are equipped, enhanced, elevated and enlightened. In simpler terms early child marriages are out-dated.

 

Monalisa Horiro

Former Jnr Speaker of Parliament

Mabvuku High School (Upper Six)

Actually the maintenance and preservation of our tradition in line with early child marriages marks a bold line at preservation of our culture and morals. Long back we had aunts cautioning the young ones and giving them a guide lines. Girls and boys together were obliged to maintain their innocence and purity because traditionally and culturally the elders would keep a constant check on those virtues.

 

Kimberly Rumbidzai Mabika

TV Personality

Poet-Afro Poetiq Mind

Tynwald High School (2014

God is the only one who does not change yesterday, today and forever and what He said. Other people’s rules or laws can come and go.

Everything develops and what has been spoken already as far as the laws or rules which encourage Early child marriages also needs to develop with time and move with the brain of a human being as people are getting more civilized compared to the era of our forefathers.

Even the word of God in Solomon 2verse7 says “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.”

A person must get married the time he or she is ripe. It’s so unwell when an 18-year-old child gets married yet she is immature Spiritually, Mentally. Just because he or she knows how to do certain things doesn’t mean maturity and after all getting married whilst unripe is an immature decision. Marriage is something which comes with maturity. What shows maturity is the knowledge one has and how responsible that person is so that at the end of the day the world will say this is a person of integrity and principles.

 

JUNIOR Parliamentarians and Junior Councilors, use The Sunday Mail Bridge to speak the concerns of children in your constituencies and to express your views about issues concerning children like Child Marriage, Condom distribution in schools, dangers of dating et cetera. Include your full name and school in your articles. YOU CAN SEND YOUR ARTICLES THROUGH E-MAIL, FACEBOOK, WHATSAPP or TEXT Just app Charles Mushinga on 0772936678 or send your articles, pictures, poetry, art . . . to Charles Mushinga at [email protected] or [email protected] or follow Charles Mushinga on Facebook or @charlesmushinga on Twitter. You can also post articles to The Sunday Mail Bridge, PO Box 396, Harare or call 0772936678.

 

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