- Service: Advisory
- Type: KPMG information
- Date: 12/18/2013
South Africa – Up to 20 girls per year saved from Ukuthwala (forced marriage) through production of a documentary that has had wide‐ranging impact in addressing gender‐based violence with traditional leaders, the community and the South African Police Service.
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Key elements of context
- During the holiday season, workers return from cities in Gauteng to their communities in the Eastern Cape and parts of KwaZulu‐Natal and seek to kidnap, rape or marry virgin girls, often as a means of an AIDS cure
- Poor families sell their daughters as young as 12 years old to the wealthier workers, grown men old enough to be the girls’ grandfathers
- With the forced marriages, girls are exposed to HIV by their husbands, who are often HIVpositive
- Girls lose their childhood prematurely, lose their right to education and to healthy living
- Ukuthwala causes an abrupt end to a girl’s childhood and the carefree existence that all children are entitled to. Suddenly the girl is a wife with a husband and in most instances, children and inlaws to serve or look after
- Teenage pregnancy can lead to numerous health complications for the young girls. These range from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections to pregnancy‐related complications such as infant mortality, maternal mortality and fistula related diseases.
- Early marriage is a symptom of and exacerbates gender inequality. If it were not for gender inequality and child abuse, Ukuthwala would have no place in South African society
- Girls cannot run away from their forced marriages as a dowry was paid and the way back into the family is impossible; there is nowhere to escape to but to wait for the high likelihood of contracting HIV