The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural and Linguistic Communities has expressed shock and concern about the extent of women abuse under customary marriage. The Commission has intervened to stop a husband’s family from demanding lobola (dowry) back after the arranged customary marriage of eight years collapsed.
A family of the bride in Msintsana outside Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape says it has been victimised by the family of the husband since the daughter decided to leave an alleged abusive marriage.
The Commission opposes the abuse of young women and the return of lobola.
“When this misunderstanding happened, the two families didn’t come together. The husband’s family was not supposed to demand six cows out of nine and yet there are two children and this young woman was married for eight years under torture. She was coming back and forth. Now that she decided to come back they want six out of nine, but they don’t say anything about this girl who was a virgin as if now marriage equals the number of children,” says Dr Nokuzola Mndende .
Elder women in the village have urged parents to shy away from forcing children to get married.
“Marriage is very difficult and we must not force children to get married. At the right time a girl must decide if she wants to get married; when she is educated and working. That is why marriages do not last because we, as parents, get involved,” says one of the residents.