'Victim of child marriage in Zimbabwe vilified by state media'

'Victim of child marriage in Zimbabwe vilified by state media'
Published: 2014 October 22 10:41:50 (13995 Views)
Former child TV presenter Makanaka Wakatama has alleged that she was raped by her ex-husband, Obvious Sambadzi, whose children she had by the time she was 17 years old.

In a candid interview she said: "I rose to stardom at the age of 9. I presented a small television programme for kids and later became the main anchor for the first Zimbabwean live television show for kids called Star Kids, which made me very famous.

"In 2006, I made newspaper headlines after I was impregnated by a businessman and entered into an early marriage at 15 and gave birth to two children by the age of 17.

"The story became subject of intense debate as I was a minor. With little knowledge of my rights as a girl, there were many nights of forced sex and violence. I was young and naive."

While in Form 3 at Dominican Convent High School in Harare, Makanaka got married to businessman Obvious Sambadzi who claimed he had been instructed in a dream to take her as his wife.

Sambadzi was slammed for taking advantage of the minor and he tried to justify his move by opening a boutique for his teenage wife.

According to Newsday, there was public outcry from organisations that advocate women and girl's rights including the Girl Child Network who wanted Sambadzi arrested for taking advantage of the teenager.

But their outcry bore no fruit after Makanaka's mother sanctioned the marriage.

Makanaka then took a swipe at the media and women's groups such a GCN, blasting them for meddling in her 'happy' union.

She has apparently learnt from her mistakes and would want to assist young girls through Makanaka Trust.

A writer for the Sunday Mail has attacked her and wrote: "If Makanaka Wakatama is under the illusion that the nation will have collective amnesia and conveniently forget the events of less than a decade ago, then she has lost the plot.

"For the benefit of those too young to know who Makanaka is, or those who might have all but forgotten that she still existed, here is a bit of background info.

"Makanaka, alongside Tinevimbo Chimbetete, became child stars as presenters of Star Kidz, a very popular segment for kids on ZTV back in the day.

"The popularity of the programme was such that almost every company wanted to have its logo on any of the programmes that the duo presented.

"Hence Alcatraz (then the fashion house of Harare), owned by the Sambazi brothers, ended up dressing up the young presenters. As the years went by, Makanaka grew into an adorable little girl and before anyone realised it, she was off the screens.

"It started off as a rumour but soon became fact, Makanaka had forced her way into someone's marriage. Obvious, one of the two Alcatraz brothers who must have been twice her age and married, had taken her as a second wife. Makanaka was 15 then.

"Her insinuations today that she was a 'victim of an early marriage' makes a mockery of us who saw it all happening before our eyes. Probably she thinks we are a stupid nation.

"Everyone made an effort to help her out of the situation, from the media, her father and even Betty Makoni. Poor Betty Makoni. Poor, because some thought she wanted to gain financial mileage out of Makanaka's case.

"But Makanaka and her mother would have none of the "nonsense", and in any case Makanaka never wanted any help. They were resolute and they made everyone who tried to help them look like fools."

Source - Nehanda/SundayMail

Tags: victim, child, marriage,

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Anonymous user 2014 October 24 05:44:39
Thats why men you end up victims even in rape cases, marriages whenever there is money some women girls dont speak out and till the guy is poor or there is abuse problems then you wil hear women girls report the case.
Anonymous user 2014 October 24 05:39:29
Makanaka us not a victim of early marriage people, girl just dont listen imagine at 10-18 they know already about sex because they know alot than the parents. Let her say she learnt her lesson in getting into early marriage then we will support her!
Anonymous user 2014 October 22 13:24:15
the girl was young, at 15 you can not make solid decisions , she really deserves a second chance and i hope the young stars will be benefit from the trust.
Anonymous user 2014 October 22 10:50:56
You missed the main point Indaba. i did this case and what you are saying is not accurate. you need to get facts right first.Muzvare Betty Makoni

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