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Traditional marriage set to become lawful in Namibia

31st March 2015 Namibia’s new Attorney-General Sacky Shanghala, has announced that one of his first missions in his new position will be to have traditional marriages recognized. He has said this will be a remedy to end family quarrels around an estate, especially in cases of a customary or traditional marriage when a couple breaks up or one of them dies.
Attorney General Sacky believes the Legal recognition will also see children born from traditional marriages especially in the northern parts of the country, legitimized and receiving their rights. A customary marriage takes place in terms of the customs of a community, while a legally recognized civil marriage takes place in a church or in front of a
magistrate. Some people in the country observe traditional customs and also get married in a church.

A Local women’s rights activist Rosa Namises in the country said she is excited about the prospect of having customary marriages legalized, but is worried that it might open the door for polygamy. According to her, legalizing customary marriages has been long overdue and needs to be addressed quickly in order to solve inheritance challenges, and bring peace to innocent children. She also stated that it would end the sufferings of women who are ousted in the event of divorce or the death of a partner by his family on grounds of being illegally married.
Rosa Namises is quoted as saying “Especially where people have been living together for very long and when the customary marriage ends, the woman and children suffer tremendously, because they are not recognized,”

She said the new development will bring relief to communities and equality among children from different mothers.

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