The twenty-twenties have allowed us to carry on social evolution and changes by forcing everyone to be still and closely analyse the social imbalances surrounding us. Unlike other times in history, we’ve been forced to sit down and actually take a look at whether or not the current cultural, legal and generally social practices we implement are ultimately working for everyone. It is upon facing this that I came to find out about the occurrence of early childhood marriages in Namibia.
I, much like many people in Namibia, had been living under the false illusion that this practice had long been outlawed and excommunicated because of how it, so obviously, deprives the child of the most basic of human rights. The Namibian legal system definitely remains under heavy scrutiny for how well it has been able to actually construct and implement laws that fulfill the nation’s obligation to fulfill the terms of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, it goes without saying that they have failed otherwise there wouldn’t be a culture of underage marriages in rural and remote locations.
There is a clear understanding of the wrongness of the practice, hence the distinction between a ‘minor’ and ‘major,’ which leads us to ask why then is is that authorities allow for laws catering to children to have fundamental gaps such as a poor system in place for extraction of married off individuals, mental healthcare support and in some cases a complete lack of intervention. One may conclude that this is another piece of evidence of our lawmaker’s clear disconnection from the people. The privilege shrouded leaders whom these young children have entrusted with the protection of their rights are unfortunately those who facilitate the violation of these rights. By this, I do not allude to any government conspiracy theories, but to point out the effect of their innaction and passiveness to the matter.
In a strange state of affairs, we find ourselves with leaders who are comfortable making laws on situations they know very little about, there is a lack of practicality to these laws and it is clear because they do not solve the most fundamental problems that one would otherwise instantly get to know upon first or second instance interaction with the issue, they instead provide a set of thinly veiled surface level solutions that serve as hindrances to the healthy development of the the Namibian child and particularly stifle and strip away the girl child’s autonomy. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it certainly takes the silence of a village to ensure their bright future is not realized.I challenge those reading this to do further research on early childhood marriages in Namibia. We must take actions to keep our government accountable especially in times like this when their complacency is used as an opportunity to cause harm within our society.