In a move that is well calculated to curb early child marriages, the Xitsonga speaking chiefs in Mwenezi and Chiredzi have passed a decree that forbids initiation of the girl child at a tender age. Chief Tshovani Felix Hlawi Mundau confirmed this development to Hevoi FM News.
“The girl child can only now go through the initiation cultural practice when she is 16 years old and above. We took this stance after realising that most of the children were now getting into early marriages.” Said chief Tshovani.
“In our culture once a girl child has gone through the initiation process it implies that she is mature enough to marry. The initiation practice, gives her liberty to marry. It is her passport into marriage.” Said chief Tshovani.
The initiation practice known as “Ku cineliwa or khomba” involves preparing the girl child for marriage whereby she is coached several matrices of romance. Held in high esteem in the Xitsonga tribe, it is believed that the practice helps the girl to become a champion in all the intricacies of bedroom tactics as well as being able to master the language for that environment.
Before this decree, a girl child would undergo the initiation cultural practice as soon as she has had started her menstrual cycles. Girls could therefore be initiated at a tender age of 12 years and subsequently get married.