“I feel a sense of panic rise up from within me, as my eyes fill up with unshed tears. Why me? How l wished and prayed this day would never come. l have finally gotten my period and l know that my family will now recognise me as a woman.
A woman, who now has a noose around her neck. I know l shall be forced to marry that lecherous old man, who has been lustily staring at my budding breasts since l was twelve years old. How can l refuse? The money from my lobola will go towards my brother’s education and l will no longer be a burden or curse around my parent’s shoulders but their saviour from poverty.
Time passes so quickly, l never thought that a year ago when l was fifteen that l would be here. The old woman is telling me to push but l have no more strength. I push one more time and there is my blood covered daughter. I am sorry my daughter, l have failed you. I have failed to protect you from this vicious world, that took away my innocence also. I wish l could protect you from the same cycle as me but that choice is not mine to have.”
This is just one of the stories l have encountered and heard of in my community. Child marriages have become the norm in Zimbabwe and people have become so desensitised to this that we no longer blink an eye at such stories. As a young millennial observing this my heart goes out to the young mother and her child but l am ashamed when l secretly feel relieved it is not me in her situation.
I ask myself, did she not have any dreams or goals she wanted to accomplish before she had to be used as a pawn through which her family would lift themselves out of poverty? She had to give birth at home because she could not afford to go to hospital and in the process risking her life to just become another statistic of a high maternal mortality rate in Zimbabwe. I know that she shall continuously give birth until she has a son so as to please her older husbands patriarchal need to prove himself as a man if he has sons and if this does not happen l know he shall beat her brutally just like he did barely a few hours after their daughter’s birth.
The most heart-breaking thing is that as a community our hands are tied; Zimbabwean culture dictates we must not interfere in such matters as they are considered “private marital affairs.” But at what cost, that of a young girl whose future has been robbed and that of her innocent child whose future will likely be the same because that is the norm if society continues to gag and cover such issues?
We should be ashamed! I know l am.
Source: Anonymous( did not want identity revealed)