Tutu: Child marriages as repugnant as apartheid

2012-11-06 19:20

Johannesburg - Coercing girls under the age of 18 into marriage is as repugnant as apartheid and should be battled with the same vigour, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Tuesday.

"This is an issue I liken to apartheid in South Africa, that I would want to bring to it the same passion, the same commitment that I had in our struggle against apartheid," he told AFP.

"Apartheid sought to quite deliberately hamstring a whole community, and this practice does the same thing.

"It is in fact hamstringing whole communities, preventing them from developing as they could have developed if girl children were given the opportunity of staying longer in school."

An estimated 10 million children are married off each year worldwide. Niger, in west Africa, has the highest prevalence with three-quarters of girls forced into marriage before 18 years of age, according to statistics by global health agencies.

"I look at my grandchildren and I say, had they been born elsewhere, these children would have been brides, and that really shook me," Tutu earlier told a meeting of activists battling child marriage.

Tutu said that if the practice was not brought to an end soon, the world can forget about achieving the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at slashing poverty and hunger, and boosting access to health care and education for all, by 2015.

"Just in terms of maternal health, you already have huge problems, and we found that six of the eight MDGs we can just give up on, there's no hope."

The rate at which children are being given away to marriage has been on the rise, and conflicts and droughts ravaging parts of the continent have worsened the situation.

Human rights campaigner Gra├ža Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife, told the meeting organised by the UK-based global charity Girls Not Brides: "No one has the right to determine what is the life of another human being - even when you are a parent, even if you are a caregiver."

  • george.pistorius - 2012-11-06 19:26

    Stop the GRANTS from the goverment!!!! and the problem is solved!!!

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-06 19:32

      Absolutley, he is such an old fart.....such a'has-been'......really get real old man, Girls are fallinjg pregant, NO MARRIAGE in order to access the grants!!!!!!! wake up!!

      lownabester - 2012-11-06 19:49

      Jaap, so agree, what the hell has child marriages got to do with apartheid. It boggles the mind, - 2012-11-06 21:15

      And why you are at it, get rid of labola too. How can modern people still sell their daugters to the highest bidder? It is nothing else but slavery.

      nico.leroux1 - 2012-11-07 04:03

      And Mr Tutu! What about Zuma with his many wife's? Is that also as repugnant as apartheid?

      mshiniboys - 2012-11-07 09:57

      Idiots read the story in full and you will know that Tutu is not talking about South Afrca.All over the world mean worldwide,globally, around the globe.everywhere in the world, on earth.

  • gvangreunen - 2012-11-06 19:40

    Pray tell, how exactly does apartheid factor in to a simile relating to young girls being married off as a result of the traditions of mindless, uneducated savages. Being of the cloth, why not rather liken it to the repugnant practise of priests molesting young boys - at least there's a relevance!

      Onke Mdingi - 2012-11-06 20:06

      Me thinks the arch just used an analogy to the problem that needs every nations' attention.

      gvangreunen - 2012-11-07 07:09

      @Onke - I know, it's just a very tired one!

  • michael.a.devilliers - 2012-11-06 19:42

    Child marriages are barbaric yes. But why compare it to apartheid? What relevance is there?

      NkululekoMhlaba - 2012-11-06 20:53

      Was Apartheid not barbaric?

      hein.huyser - 2012-11-06 21:44

      @not yet uhuru, if homelands were so bad, why is it that most whites beg for a homeland of their own today? Please let me have an area what I can call my own and be free from the curse of the anc, then you okes can go and uhuru amongst yourselves whilst we will create another economy.

      blip.noodlum - 2012-11-06 23:20

      Most whites DO NOT want a racist white "homeland" of their own. Only 0.4% of verkramptes want that. Please don't presume to speak on behalf of "most whites". Speak only for yourself.

  • Raymon - 2012-11-06 19:43

    No no no TuTu.... What are you saying? On the one hand our Prez is saying we must do things the African way, an now here you come and say we should do things the 'white man' way... You lot are confusing us all... Make up your minds already...

  • frank.crane.180 - 2012-11-06 19:52

    Nothing to do with apartheid everything to do with Africa.

  • harold.parsons.37 - 2012-11-06 19:57

    I struggle to see how aparthied can be as repugnent as fornicating with children. Marrying children is a disgusting primitive custom that should have been banned hundreds of years ago.

  • joe.smit.549 - 2012-11-06 19:59

    As bad as the cANCer?

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-06 20:09


  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-11-06 20:10

    Bring apartheid into your arguments and lose all credibility. The age of marriage and the start of procreation even in Old Hebrew tradition was something like 12 or 12 and a half. So don't bring apartheid into it. Tell us rather how your religious affinities to the Old Testament and its role in determining the acceptable young aged marriage customs of the time under god's reign squares with apartheid. Your biblical god definitely did not discourage or speak out against the practices. Desmond, don't force us who usually have good regard of your views to lose our respect for you.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-11-06 20:11

    Tutu said that if the practice was not brought to an end soon, the world can forget about achieving the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at slashing poverty and hunger, and boosting access to health care and education for all, by 2015. uhmmm you mean apartheid is not solely to blame for all those evils??

  • Lana Van Der Berg - 2012-11-06 20:13

    Why is everything always compared to apartheid??? How about marrying children should be outlawed because it's pedophilia! It's totally bloody disgusting! Bring back the death penalty for scum that try to disguise their perversions with the sanctity of marriage! In fact bring back the death penalty for all criminals!

  • joyce.beeton - 2012-11-06 20:21

    Apartheid, apartheid, apartheid - blah blah blah - what about the thousands of school girls that get pregnant every year? - what about the pregnant women who drink themselves to death so that they can claim extra money if they have a baby that is affected by foetal alcohol syndrome? What about the hundreds of little girls and babies that are raped because idiots believe that it cures Aids? What about the millions of tax-payers money that is wasted and stolen due to corruption that should go to the poor? Enough said!

  • - 2012-11-06 20:26

    Like flying ants after a downpour in summer, the apartheid sympathisers believe apartheid wasn't repugnant. That piece of history marks the lowest level 'human' beings ever went to subject another human being to a forced situation against their will. So you don't see the relationship? You should have *esti*les for eyes; and a brain full of unbridled hatred for life in general.

  • jerry.medina.756 - 2012-11-06 20:30

    Obviously apartheid sympathizers will not agree with the Arch this time. "This is an issue I liken to apartheid in South Africa, that I would want to bring to it the same passion, the same commitment that I had in our struggle against apartheid," he told AFP.

      crracker.crackerr - 2012-11-06 22:07

      The moment you bring apartheid into your arguments you lose all credibility. Period!

  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-11-06 20:30

    Is it as repugnant as Zooma spending R200 million on a harem, eh Arch? You, like the cANCer, give me a cramp with your double standards.

  • annette.vorster.54 - 2012-11-06 20:37

    Your ROYAL HIGHNESS, DR TUTU, You must please introduce some of us to the God you serve! It is said that eyesight fails and the brain cells falter after many years! Sine you and Zuma enjoy spinning the racist past and apartheid (which may still become essential) LET ME TELL YOU STRAIGHT THAT THEIR IS NOTHING MORE REPUGNENT THAN WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS, "YOUR RAINBOW COUNTRY" RIGHT NOW!!! IF you cannot see that, then we are worshipping different Gods! . . . .john vorster

      nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-11-06 20:44

      Isn't his god the pope.

  • louis.scholtz1 - 2012-11-06 20:47


  • lvhukeya1 - 2012-11-06 20:47

    Aag' can somebody pls tell TUTU to go to de old age home nd stop playing mosqito on our ears. does he expect a 18 yrs old to be a virgin? does he wan't to change a constitution?

  • joe.mangena.1 - 2012-11-06 20:58

    Apartheid is not a taboo, it's beneficiaries must stop pretending to be allergetic to it.

  • antjie.vanstraaten - 2012-11-06 21:03

    So Tutu, when are we going to get rid of apartheid... BEE and all the other laws that restricting the white man?

  • miguel.dias.90410 - 2012-11-06 21:32

    Do something about it "Gods hand", dont blame it on apartheid, it something the the African culture has done for centuries, before white colonistaion. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR PRESIDENT. Stop blaming everything on APARTHEID. Colonisation brought "YOUR" religion into being, do something about it. I Don't see Euorpean contries marrying minors. GET REAL.

  • liam.doherty.334 - 2012-11-06 21:37

    We all live in the year 2012/13 you know!!! This shouldnt happen, exploitation of children, disgusting!

  • hein.huyser - 2012-11-06 21:37

    Tuts, this is the doings of your president and all his African ways he is promoting. Go and ask these "traditional leaders" if they have a problem with this 99% will not disagree. And you bunch of palookas wants these morons to dispense the law fairly? Africa is still its own worst enemy

  • rohann.geldenhuys - 2012-11-06 23:36

    Gee wizz... Does the readers of this article overreact much... ?This has got nothing to do with apartheid, all he is suggesting is that we fight for this cause the with the same level of commitment and importance "like" apartheid. And seriously to the guy that made the first comment, this has got nothing to do with government, but everything to do with cultures and believes.

  • vusi.mpela - 2012-11-07 02:25

    Apartheid seems to e the root of all evil - can people not just accept their own weaknesses and issues rather than to bring apartheid into it. It is getting old - next thing we'll hear is that apartheid is responsible for poverty across the world, and maybe even to blame for global warming

  • nico.leroux1 - 2012-11-07 06:06

    I agree with Tutu!! Apartheid is bad. Please stop practicing it.

  • jgbronkhorst - 2012-11-07 06:46

    So what has apartheid got to do if the idiots have it inbred into them. The whites didn't force them to learn to sell their own kids. Tutu should get of his little soap box and stop blaming everything on apartheid.

  • mabotseba - 2012-11-07 06:56

    omg you dimwits!!! He's not 'blaming apartheid' for this... Y'all are so stupid, seriously... Read that article again or go back to school... Gosh!!!

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-11-07 07:10

    While your article is correct why do you have to harp on apartheid, you have no apartheid now and kids are getting themselves pregnant in order to get a small grant. Why can't you be a leader in this area, every person refers to the handbrake "we were held back because..." Well its no more and I cannot see too many strides having been made.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-11-07 07:46

    Now where do you draw the line between western way of living and cultural way of living? Is'nt that the constant argument all round as an excuse? You want to tell people that they cannot practise their "cultural way". What outcry is that going to create. I would like to see how this is going to work after you have brainwashed some people to cling to thier cultures but others must let go of their cultures. Again double standards.

  • mshiniboys - 2012-11-07 08:41

    If only people could read the story not just the tittle we would get great comments.These comments open with one stupid calledgeorge.pistorius trolling away his waste of space fingers on his grandmothers computer telling us about grants as if this story is all about South Africa.And I quote "An estimated 10 million children are married off each year worldwide. Niger, in west Africa, has the highest prevalence with three-quarters of girls forced into marriage before 18 years of age, according to statistics by global health agencies" Read you idiots!!!!!!

  • julie.vanniekerk.3 - 2012-11-07 08:45

    And an old fart that should have retired ages ago, is even MORE repugnant than a-part-hide..........

  • Michael - 2012-11-07 09:48

    Apartheid, oh yes, that despicable, evil system that had every single person of colour in South Africa bound in chains and whipped daily until 1994 dawned. Not a single one person ever receiving any form of education, freedom of movement, permission to think or speak, access to light or fire...the only respite for the suffering captives being a lucky selection for mass execution... Well give it a bloody break now because if popular interpretation is to be believed, prior to 1994 all citizens of colour were illiterate, starving paupers capable of nothing but the very basics of human biological function - as evidenced by the first opening of democratic parliament when all the newly elected ministers, dressed in rags, walked barefoot to the house - sure! Of course Apartheid was a bad thing, there's no denying that but hell, every demand for a handout, BBBEE or other concession is an insult thrown in the face of any successful pre 94 "coloured person! All you apartheid whine artists, move the hell along now man and stop blaming your lack of success on your own rank ineptitude.

  • perter.damingo - 2012-11-07 09:59

    Tutu is an anti-christ and should keep his mouth shut

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-11-07 10:20

    Repugnant as apartheid? Why Arch, I can add a few more names to that list. Why don't you?.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-07 11:24

    He is loosing it me thinks. Child marriages and apartheid in the same breath??? I wonder in 100 yrs time will it still be mentioned as the cause of looting,raping,not working,robbery

  • allan.e.basterfield - 2012-11-17 14:55

    poor tutu! the man has completely lost it. apartheid and child marriages....where the hell is the remotest connection. sometimes it's better to say nothing if you don't have anything SENSIBLE to say! go back to the 80's and fight your imaginary 'liberation struggle'!!!!

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