Breaking News:

Big Issues, Opinions & Editorial

Malawi: Memory escaped child marriage, her 11-year-old sister wasn’t so lucky

0

The 18-year-old girl managed to escape the cycle that turns half the girls in her southern African nation into brides, and often mothers, by her age.

But her sister Mercy was not so lucky.

When only 11, Mercy got pregnant during a traditional sexual “cleansing ceremony” that is intended to prepare pubescent girls for womanhood and marriage. Mercy was forced to marry the man who impregnated her, but the marriage didn’t last. Nor did the next one. Now 16, Mercy already has three children and little education, her dreams of becoming a teacher put on hold.

A few years ago, Memory encountered Girls Empowerment Network, a Malawi-based NGO that had been trying for years to get lawmakers to address the issue of child marriage. Only a teenager herself, Memory could get other girls in her village to open up. The group’s writing workshops resulted in a remarkable set of testimonials called “I Will Marry When I Want To!” Memory and the group brought a crucial perspective to Malawi’s debate over child marriage: that of children themselves.

Memory believes the testimonials forced lawmakers to end their denial of how widespread child marriage had become in this tradition-bound country. “They were caught,” she says. She went on to become something of a lobbyist for a new law to raise the legal age of marriage in Malawi to 18. After five years of debate, it passed this past February.

Now, Memory says, enforcement is key. “It will make a big difference and a big impact, but if and only if there are better ways of implementing the program so that more and more people are reached concerning the new law.”

After all, her sister’s marriage when she was 11 was also illegal, but that didn’t stop the damage from being done. Memory is urging her sister not to give up on her stolen aspirations to become a teacher. “I believe she still has a chance of going back to school,” she says.

And Memory sees a new openness forming in pockets of Malawi’s society as she tries to educate girls about sexuality and their rights. She knows her sister is determined not to let her children go through what she did. Mercy’s oldest daughter is now five, almost half the age Mercy was when she got married off.

“The little girl knows what the mom went through. And I am pretty sure she also has greater hopes for her own future,” Memory says.

Related Posts

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Mrs Mia inspires DPP senior officials

    In a leaked whatsapp conversation among DPP gurus the blue officials said they wish Mrs Abida Mia who has a hardworking spirit was in their team. The DPP officials which include; Ben Phiri, Ngeme Kalilani and Nicholas Dausi just to mention a few said Abida Mia is an insiration to all women in politics. One…

  • FLASH BACK: Kaliati and cadets strip Eastern Region Chief naked, dethrone him

    By Nyasa Times Published: June 6, 2011 Chief Mponda of Nsamala Village in Balaka district, who claim to have been paraded naked by Democratic Progressive Party DPP) Youth Cadets last month, has cried foul over the news that he has been stripped off his chieftaincy. Mponda was beaten up, rubbed down with buffalo beans (chitedze)…

  • WHERE WILL CHILIMA GET THE VOTES

    What UTM will do is to divide the DPP votes. The scenario will be much the same like the Gwanda and John Tembo scenario in 2004. This gives MCP an opportunity to make the best use of its unwavering supporters, which are over a million. Plus those who are generally disgruntled with DPP and those…

  • Chakwera Defends His First Malawi Cabinet – BBC

    Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has fired back at critics over the choice of his maiden cabinet which they said was tainted by family ties, insisting that the appointments were based purely on merit.<br>The newly-elected president was reacting to public outrage that ensued on Thursday when Chakwera unveiled a 31-member cabinet which included six figures who…

  • DPP, UTM wrestle over corruption evidence

    Two of Malawi’s political parties; the United Transformation Party (UTM) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are pointing fingers at each other over corruption allegations. DPP’s Nicholas Dausi said that Chilima’s secrets will be revealed if he continues to talk ill about the DPP. “He has skeletons in his wardrobe, but he is busy talking…

  • Buleya Lule was electrocuted, assaulted

    Malawi’s Forensic Pathologist and Clinical Forensic Physician, Charles Dzamalala has released results of the medical investigation on the death of Buleya Lule, a suspect in the abduction of Dedza boy born with albinism. Buleya Lule died suddenly on Wednesday, 21st February 2019 while in Police custody after being arrested when he was being suspected to…

css.php