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Obligated to Marry Before Puberty, African Girls Pay Lasting Cost

CHIKUTU, Malawi – Mapendo Simbeye’s dilemmas started early a year ago once the barren hills along Malawi’s north edge with Tanzania rejected their tries to develop also cassava, the hardiest crop of all of the. Therefore to feed their spouse and five kids, he stated, he visited their neighbor, Anderson Kalabo, and asked for a financial loan. Mr. Kalabo provided him 2,000 kwacha, about $16. Your family had been given.

But that created another issue: just exactly how could Mr. Simbeye, a penniless farmer, repay Mr. Kalabo?

The solution would shock many outsiders, however in sub-Saharan Africa’s rural patriarchies, it really is custom that is deeply ingrained. Mr. Simbeye delivered their 11-year-old child, Mwaka, a timid first grader, down one mangy hillside or over the following to Mr. Kalabo’s hut. There she became a servant to their first spouse, and, she stated, Mr. Kalabo’s brand new sleep partner.

Now 12, Mwaka stated her moms and dads never ever informed her she ended up being supposed to be the 2nd spouse of the guy approximately three years her senior. “They said I experienced to chase birds through the rice garden, ” she stated, learning the floor outside her mud-brick home. “I did not know any thing about wedding. “

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