Sunday, 14 June 2015 18:55

SOUTH AFRICA: Day of the African Child to Put Spotlight On Child Marriages

PRETORIA, 12 June 2015 - As the country prepares to mark the Day of the African Child, the African Union has estimated that 58 million young women in developing countries have been married off before their 18th birthday.

At the present trend, by 2020, 143 million girls would be married before age 18, an alarming average of 14.2 million girls every single year.

In South Africa, child marriages are often affected through the practice of 'ukuthwala' - the wrongful and usually forcible, carrying off or removal of girl children from their homes for the purpose of being married to older men against their will.

This is prevalent largely in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

The South African government, represented by the Department of Social Development together with the African Union's Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, will on 15 June 2015 host an event to commemorate the Day of the African Child.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini will address the event, scheduled to take place in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The 2015 Day of the African Child will be observed under the theme "25 Years after the Adoption of the African Children's Charter: Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa".

During the event, which is expected to be attended by children from across the African continent, the problem of child marriages will come under the spotlight.

The event will also bring together those affected by and working to end child marriage to discuss initiatives that are effective in eliminating child marriage.

The event will be preceded by a march by children and other participants from the Mandela House on Vilakazi Street, Soweto to the Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum.

Source: SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane) / www.allAfrica.com

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