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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Ukuthwala let’s stop stolen childhoods

Type :
Research reports & papers
Author :
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Published :
2010
Link :

Ukuthwala is a form of abduction that involves kidnapping a girl or a young woman by a man and his friends or peers with the intention of compelling the girl or young woman’s family to endorse marriage negotiations. In ancient Africa, particularly among the Nguni, Ukuthwala was a condoned albeit abnormal path to marriage targeted at certain girls or women of marriageable age. But it did not involve raping or having consensual sex with the girl until marriage requirements had been concluded. Ukuthwala steals childhood. It causes an abrupt end to a girl’s childhood and the carefree existence that all children are entitled to. Suddenly the little girl is a wife with a husband and in most instances, children and in-laws to serve or look after.