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- linked /ˈliŋ(k)t/ (adj.)
- cultural /ˈkəlch-rəl, ˈkəl-chə-/ (adj.)
- violation /vī-ə-ˈlā-shən/ (n.)
- ill-fated /ˈɪlˈfeɪtəd/ (adj.)
- prevalence /ˈpre-və-lən(t)s/ (n.)
- What is the usual marrying age in your country? Do you think this age is too late or too early? Why?
- What do you think should the African government do to protect young girls from being married off at a young age?
- What are the marriage customs and rituals of your country?
having or provided with links
of or related to the beliefs, traditions and arts of a population or group
the act of doing something that is not allowed by a law or rule
nding in disaster : very unlucky
the quality or state of being prevalent
* Read the text below
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(1) The African nation of Zimbabwe has long been known as a “hot spot” for child marriages. The United Nations says that as many as 31 percent of Zimbabwean girls are married before the age of 18. But, two such girls say enough is enough. They are taking steps to raise the legal age at which girls can be married.
(2) Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi were just girls when they were married and gave birth for the first time. Now they are hoping to correct what they say was a violation of their rights. Zimbabwe’s highest court is now considering the case of the two young women.
(3) They are seeking to raise the legal marriage age for girls from 16 years to 18 – the same as it is for boys. They also want to cancel existing child marriages. If the court agrees with them, the ruling could affect countless girls and their families.
(4) Former finance minister Tendai Biti is serving as the lawyer for the two women. He argued in court this month that the legal age should be 18. That way, he says, the young women are old enough to make their own decisions.
(5) “One in three Zimbabwean women is marrying below the age of 18. Twenty-five percent are, in fact, being married or impregnated before the age of 15. So these are young children.”
(6) Tendai Biti argued in court that Zimbabwe’s new constitution identifies 18 as the legal age to decide to have a family. He said that approving marriage at a younger age violates Article 56 of the constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.
(7) Emmily Naphambo is with the development group Plan International. She says child marriage fails to protect the rights of children, and needs to end.
(8) “We have very high prevalence of child marriages – second from South Asia. So as a region, we are at 37 percent, but within that region we have ‘hot spots,’ which are countries with even much higher prevalence rates above 37 percent. For example, in Mozambique, in Malawi, in Zimbabwe, in Zambia, in all these countries, the prevalence rates are pretty close to 50 percent. For every 100 girls, 50 of them are already married by the time they are 18 years old.”
(9) Opponents of child marriage say it is often a result of poverty, lack of knowledge and cultural beliefs. They note such marriages can lead to human rights violations. For example, marriage at an early age can prevent a girl from continuing her education. It can also reduce the chance of her getting a good job and good health care.
(10) Zimbabwean officials say the results of child marriages can even be deadly. They say the nation’s high death rates for children and mothers can be linked to the large number of mothers who are too young.
(11) It is not clear when the Constitutional Court will rule in the case.
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