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Women, girls being treated as sex objects through lobola – NGOCC

THE Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council says the continued commercialisation of bride price is de-humanising to women and girls as they are treated as sex objects.

 

NGOCC board chairperson Sarah Longwe stated that she was concerned that some families were using the bride price, commonly known as Lobola, as a way to make capital.

“NGOCC is deeply concerned with the commercialisation of Lobola, which is de-humanising to women and girls who are treated as commodities, chattels and sex objects. Some families are literally using Lobola as a way to make capital and making women and girls as commodities for sale,” Longwe stated.

 

She stated that such practices led to the misconception that paying Lobola condemned women into commodities that would be abused by men.

 

“The higher Lobola fee being charged is considered as a price paid for the transfer of a woman’s sexual and economic rights to her husband and his family. It is no doubt that the high Lobola charge has a negative effect on the marital stability and has contributed to the rise in child and early marriages and violence against women and girls,” Longwe stated.

 

She called on the government to guide the country on the positive establishment of a marriage contract.

 

“We call on government through the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, working with traditional leaders that are custodians of our customs and traditions, to guide the country on how to positively establish a marriage contract between two families without destroying the wellbeing of the couple thereafter,” Longwe added.

 

She stated that her organisation supported the payment of Lobola as opposed to debates ignited by some people who wanted the government to abolish the tradition.

 

“NGOCC has noted the on-going debate that has engrossed the country on whether government should regulate or abolish the payment of bride price. As an organisation, we note that payment of bride price in Zambia is a tradition that defines how we as a people celebrate our marriage rite,” stated Longwe.

 

“There is also need to sensitise communities that the payment of Lobola should not place women into slavery. A human life is priceless and therefore society must be made to understand that women and girls should never be made commodities for sale to the highest Lobola bidder. Marriage should respect human rights, integrity and dignity of both women and men.”/SM/JC

 

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