Child marriage remains a highly contested issue in South Africa, highlighting the various socio-economic and legal issues surrounding it.
702/Cape Talk's Redi Tlhabi spoke to legal expert, Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo, regarding the practice (referred to as ukuthwala) in rural commuities across the country.
Listen to the conversation below:
The law in South Africa has always been very clear since the passing of the 1998 the age of marriage has been 18, but I think the topical issue is the issue of ikuthwala.— Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, former Private Law professor
If you think of ukuthwala, there is a school of thought that makes a demonstrably solid case that you could look at it at the time as something reasonably progressive.— Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, former Private Law professor
As long as a customary marriage is recognized, extreme traditionalists don't care abt anything else! 😢@RediTlhabi— B. Kayembe Ipupa (@QncSly) March 3, 2016
Ukuthwala was consensual, so you're talking about people who were already lovers...The reasons were usually a safety valve for lovers to slip out of parental authoritarianism for a list of reasons.— Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, former Private Law professor
The question is one of culture versus what we conceive as human rights is a big debate.— Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, former Private Law professor
There are so many short cuts that we take when we deal with culture, particularly with culture and human rights. And a lot of the time in the short cuts, is to default to a value system which is not African.— Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, former Private Law profesor