Gender Gender

‘Stop negative practices’

MARGARET SAMULELA, Lundazi
TRADITIONAL practices in villages situated along Zambia’s border with Malawi, are negatively affecting the fight against early child marriage, Ng’onga parent-teachers association chairperson Dubani Nyirenda has said.
Mr Nyirenda appealed to authorities to stop the practice and rescue young women who are captured during traditional ceremonies or under the guise of traditional practice.
Speaking in an interview recently, Mr Nyirenda explained that the traditional practice of ‘Kusompola’, loosely translated as ‘stealing’, is a practice common in villages situated along the Zambia-Malawi border.
‘In this practice, men will ‘capture’ a young girl and keep her in hiding. They will later send an emissary to inform her family that the girl is married,” he said.
He said this is a hindrance to the fight against early marriage as most of these females are young school-going girls.
And Headman Chimutiko of Chimutiko village in Lundazi said people in the village do not report such cases for fear of breaking family linkages and being viewed as traitors.
“As traditional leaders, we are trying to warn our people to report such cases, including cases of defilement and child labour, but most are afraid of breaking family lineages or being seen to disrespect their family secrets when they bring such issues in the open,’ he said.
And Ng’onga basic school head teacher, Prince Jere asked for independent authorities to get involved in protecting children.
“Working as a social support group of teachers with psycho-social counselling skills, we have managed to rescue three pupils from Ng’onga Primary School and two from Nthitima Primary School from early marriages in the last six months,”  Mr Jere said.

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