Task team probes schoolgirl abductions

2011-02-03 16:35

Durban - A police task team has been set up in KwaZulu-Natal to investigate the abduction of young women to be wedded to older men in Bergville, a practice known as ukuthwala.

“A task team was set up by the provincial commissioner after a school principal from Bergville complained about children being scared to go to school because of abductions,” Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said on Thursday.

The principal laid a complaint with police and said in some case the parents of the children taken were allegedly part of the process, or wanted to negotiate the matter themselves, without involving the police.

Ukuthwala involves a man and his peers setting out to compel a girl or young woman's family to endorse marriage negotiations. The tradition is practised mainly by Xhosa-speakers in the Eastern Cape and in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

Mdunge said he could not name the school to protect the victims.


“The school principal reported [the matter to us] in January. He was particularly concerned that one girl in his school had been abducted twice and her parents had not acted on this. The principal believed the child needed to be assisted.”

The task team was set up last week after provincial commissioner Mamunye Ngobeni received a report on the crimes.

“At the moment the children are being interviewed and sworn statements taken. Once all dockets are completed arrests will be made and the matter will be taken to court.”

He said a number abduction cases were opened last year.

“Parents choose to negotiate outside court. The provincial commissioner has said this matter has to be handled within the law.”

The focus was currently on Bergville, but authorities would look at other affected areas.

Police would ensure abductions did not happen in the area, Mdunge said.

Mdunge could not say how many girls had been affected and how many were currently being interviewed.

“It is unclear how many girls have been interviewed, but police are dealing with girls from the school.”

  • geanann - 2011-02-03 16:47

    This practise is widespread and nothing much will come of this. Read more at:

      Hans-Erik Iken - 2011-02-03 17:37

      Let me guess: it is part of their culture and therefor to be respected?

  • The_Truth - 2011-02-03 17:07

    Definitely third world, or lesser country. Barbarian practices or law of the jungle

      Singo - 2011-02-03 17:32

      stone age practice.if one of these men abduct my daughter he will eat his own sh#t.Dont they know human right at all?

  • KarinWalker - 2011-02-03 17:26

    This is disgusting! And why do we somehow try and legitimise these crimes by saying, ( a process called ukuthwala..)..who gives a s**t what the xhosas call it..! Its ABDUCTION AND STATUTORY RAPE! ( if the girls are under 16)..The parents should be locked up as well as the abductors and rapists, if they are accessories to the crime).. For too long crimes in this country have been sanitised by people referring to them as "cultural practices" and giving them Zulu/Xhosa names. Would it alright for Afrikaners to this if they called it " Die plukking van die jong blomme"..or some such cr*p..

  • Singo - 2011-02-03 17:29

    we've been hearing about this so-called culture for many years and the police did nothing.were they waiting for the principal to complain? Now that the matter will be handled within the law,are the police going to help those young women who were abducted last year or before?young woman who should be pursuing their studies rather than being madala's wives.take them all to the social welfare sothat they can decide on their looks like their families negleted them at all.It breaks my heart.

      THH - 2011-02-03 17:54

      @Singo Agreed 100%

  • BigMoose - 2011-02-03 17:33

    The parents get horny cattle, the horny old men get fresh meat. Cattle are more valuable than their own daughters.

  • Withond - 2011-02-03 17:57

    "police are dealing with the girls" very suspect, maybe they are involved!

  • maseratifitt - 2011-02-03 18:30

    Doesn't the so-called king of Swaziland also do this kind of thing?

  • Ni-hao - 2011-02-03 18:53

    The death penalty also forms part of their culture but they only follow culture when it suits them.

  • richard - 2011-02-03 19:35

    Scrap culture from the Constitution, it is evident that this culture in it's entirity is barbaric.

  • Eddie - 2011-02-03 20:00

    and you idiots are entitled to a vote?

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-02-03 20:14

    I cry for our young women who are so abused. My heart aches for their plight and my anger grows at the arrogance of old men and the girls' families who abuse them. However, I realise that with a polygamous president, all the other old men are jumping on the bandwagon. It is a tragedy

      john.tau.1840 - 2012-11-17 01:08

      Yep! I 'spose he ( the president )sets the example.

  • BRONZE - 2011-02-04 09:13

    I hate it when people use an old practise in the modern era. Reason being that people now construe it in a way that is more harmful then good. Amasoka (translation from anyone please) would never compel a girl against her will, they relied soley on their abilities to court a young woman and were proud of themselves once the agreed to 'date' him. It was something to brag about to your buddies that you were good enough to convince that hard to get girl to be yours. This thing of ukuthwala is for those man that don't have the gift of the garb, and even then there were ways to doing it and rape was never part of it or else the king would have your head.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-02-04 11:57

    Which century are we living in again? Oh ja I forgot..this is Africa..

  • wgibsonsa - 2011-02-04 11:58

    This practice is barbaric in its entirety. Old perverted lust filled men marrying young girs and then forcing themselves on them. Most of these victims are under sixteen and there fore these filthy old pervs should be locked uo for statutory rape. Oh wait sorry, its called culture. These young girls should be at schools getting educated yet they are married off for a few cattle to men and they become slaves in their own homes having babies, cooking and cleaning. It amazes me that a cow is worth more than a childs well being in this so called culture. Half these old men live and work in the cities and travel back a few times a year to see their child brides and offspring. Its 2011 for heavens sake, not the stone age. This practice is also rife amongs the muslims. This is why the third world is so backwards. Its because of their oppresive culture and patriarchal attitude to woman and girls.

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