There some practices in Africa that needs to be discarded, the selling of young girls into marriage ranks top on the list.
Reactions have continued to trail the recent news making rounds of a South Sudanese family which gave opportunity to five men to bid for their 17-year-old virgin daughter’s hand in marriage.
The young girl, named Nyalong Ngong Deng Jalang would be made to marry the highest bidder; and this has aroused a lot of criticism from different parts, especially considering that the men taking part in the bidding process are all old enough to be the girl's father.
Amongst the bidders is the Deputy Governor of South Sudan Eastern Lake State, David Mayom Riak and an influential business mogul named Kok Alat – who led the race with an initial bid of 500 cows, three V8 cars and $10,000 (about Shs37.4m).
It was gathered that bride price in those parts usually consisted of 20 to 40 cows.
This is coming at the same time when Human Rights activists are calling for government to act in shutting down an on-line auction currently going on Facebook for a 16-year-old girl Sudanese girl. But how will such petitions see the light of day when government officials are taking part in human auctions themselves?
Speaking on the issue to VOA’s South Sudan in Focus, Monica Adhiue - the acting Executive Director for South Sudan's National Alliance for Women Lawyers, expressed shock and sadness saying:
"The practice is a gross human rights violation and violates the rights of a girl. It does not only deprive the girl child from education and limit her future opportunities in her life, but also increases the risk of violence, jeopardizes her health, reduces the girl child to a property, and deprives her from the right to choose."
Nyalong Ngong Deng Jalang’s bidding auction was also advertised in a Facebook post which showed the sad looking talk beautiful damsel standing next to a short man who was grinning mischievously.
The Facebook post which was dated Oct. 25 had a caption which says the leading bidder had offered 500 cows and 3 cars for her, and urged other men to join the bid before it gets too late.
The post further read that, "Competition is perfectly allowed in Dinka/Jieng culture."
And in a rather disheartening reference to the girl's height, it says, "The kids of the winner are guaranteed for NBA slots."
Expressing concern, Dr Sylvia Tamale, a Human Rights Activist said:
"Placing a price tag on a human being is despicable and essentially regarded as criminal today. It is a sexist commodification of women's bodies which must be rejected. The nuanced rationale behind this historical institution was very different from the commercialisation that it is steeped in today. It is important for people to research about the historical aspects of the institution of bride wealth in Africa."
Practices like this need to stop and the perpetrators of this evil need to stop hiding under the guise of tradition and customs.
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