Home Local 15-year-old Marange girl dies while giving birth

15-year-old Marange girl dies while giving birth

Police carrying coffin
Police carrying a coffin

IN what appears to be a repeat of the famous Anna Machaya case a pregnant 15-year-old Marange girl died last Wednesday after bleeding excessively under the watch of a faith healer, and her 29-year-old husband has been arrested.

In July last year, 14-year-old Anna Machaya died during childbirth at the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church’s Mafararikwa Shrine in Manicaland Province, a case which attracted international media on the issue of child marriages in Zimbabwe. Even the United Nations was drawn into the matter.

Now, in the latest similar such case, 15-year-old Ferby Munyafi of Chiadzwa Village in Chief Marange’s area, died during labour when a complication developed.

She was married to 29-year-old Arthur Chitombo of the same village, according to Manica Post.

Chitombo has since been arrested and appeared before Mutare magistrate, Prisca Manhibi on Tuesday facing charges of having sexual relations with a minor.

He was not asked to plead.

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The court heard that Ferby got married to Chitombo in April last year, when she was 14 and he was twice that age. When she got pregnant, the teen did not register her pregnancy at any clinic.

On January 9, she started experiencing labour pains and was rushed to a faith healer in Mafararikwa Village.

The court heard that on January 12, Ferby bled profusely as she was in labour and died before she could give birth.

On the following day, Chitombo reported the case at Marange Police Station and police officers attended the scene before subsequently arresting him.

Chitombo was released on $40 000 bail and he will be back in the dock on February 12.

Meanwhile, Ferby’s body was conveyed to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for post-mortem.

Child marriage in Zimbabwe is often driven by poverty, girl child rights activists say. Parents marry off their juvenile daughters and get lobola as a brief relief from poverty their households struggling to weather a vicious economic crisis.

The brides, though, are more likely to remain in a state of privation due to lack of personal development and education.

Although underage marriage is illegal and local organisations have been fighting against it as an economic transaction, the financial meltdown has worsened the situation.

Rights defenders say child marriage, outlawed by the Zimbabwean constitutional court in 2016, has spiralled in the rural areas that constitute 75% of the country.

About one in every three girls in Zimbabwe is married before the age of 18, the legal age of consent.

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