Author(s)： Nelago Indongo, Lillian Pazvakawambwa
Marital pattern in a Namibian society is predominantly of never married women, and the rates are increasing, while the proportion of those getting married is falling, nevertheless, these proportions decline as age increases. Quantitative research revealed differences in marital status by place of residence, education level and age group suggesting that aspects of culture, marriage practices and customs change over time. Focus group discussions of 6 – 9 participants were conducted to construct supplementary in-depth understanding of women’s feelings and attitudes towards marriage in Namibia. Results indicated that women felt that marriage was still important for family formation. The practice of early marriage was reported to be still happening especially in remote rural areas but was on the decline. Marital union choice was dictated by parental guidance, childhood sexual abuse, poverty, culture, age, and religion. Most marriages were not stable and divorces were increasing due to issues of infidelity, poor communication, inpatience and intolerance, step children, financial matters, alcohol and drug abuse, young age at marriage, witchcraft allegations, in-law relationships and even poor cooking. Cohabitation was promoted by exorbitant lobola, marriage costs, modernization, media influences, poverty, and flexibility. The risks associated with cohabiting were gender based violence and passion killings in the event of dissolution and lack of legal representation framework especially with respect to property in the event of partner death. Among the never married women, reasons for not marrying included absence of acceptable mate on the marriage market; need for independence, infertility, fear of abusive relationships, bad past experiences, heart aches, and lack of good married role models to inspire them to also marry.
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