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Fri Oct 31 13:26:04 SAST 2014

Outrage at 57-year-old Sangoma's marriage to 13-year-old

Sapa | 31 January, 2013 10:53
Wedding rings. File photo.
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A Limpopo sangoma's marriage to a teenage girl outraged the government.

"Such practises cannot go unabated in a country where children are protected and have a right to education, [and] a stable and safe environment," government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement.

The Sowetan reported on Thursday that a 57-year-old sangoma had married a 13-year-old epileptic girl in Modimolle, so he could monitor her trouble with her ancestors.

The girl's mother reportedly said the sangoma treated her daughter for two years and cured her epilepsy. He then told her ancestors were troubling the girl and she needed to be monitored. He offered to marry her.

"We had no choice but to agree to his suggestion because we wanted her to be healthy," the woman told the newspaper. She said she accepted a R5000 ilobola (dowry) for her daughter.

According to The Sowetan, the sangoma was arrested on January 23 after a villager complained to social workers, however charges against him were withdrawn as the girl's parents had consented to the marriage.

"It takes a village to raise a child, and therefore it is a collective responsibility to safeguard and protect our children," said Williams.

She said the government was encouraged that the National Prosecuting Authority was investigating the matter.

"We trust that it will receive the necessary attention and that this case will be prioritised," she said.

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