She is my niece and it was such a joy to meet her and spend time together last week in Madziva. She is now called Mrs Chiutsi, (husband’s surname) or Mai Vimbai (her 17 year old daughter). I adored this little girl when she was growing up, so full of life, joy, and dreams. Then I heard my muzukuru was married, and she was barely fifteen.
It was hard painful for me, and yet I accepted. 17 years later we are sitting in my grass thatched hut and chatting away, laughing and recalling yester-years. She now has four children, and she is just over 30. Her eldest daughter could not continue with school and is a domestic worker somewhere in Bulawayo. She just says “Ambuya, zvakaoma”.
He husband comes to greet me, and we share a knowing wink with Reason. We introduce the subject of how they met, and he is all joking about how he rescued her from poverty, an all familiar story. Reason, still has dreams for herself and her daughters. She wants something more than simply being a village woman growing tobacco.I could feel and touch her dreams yet again.
I am thinking of Reason and many other married girls as we prepare for the Girls Summit to be held in Lusaka this year. I wish Reason, my wonderful muzukuru had a passport, she could come by bus and together we can find solutions.
Ending child marriage is more than awareness, it demands practical actions in communities.