74-Year-Old ‘Buys’ Teen Wife From Granny.

A visually impaired granny, 72, from Jotsholo in Matabeleland North sold her teenage granddaughter into marriage with a man, 74, for $500.


Saliwe Ncube of Mateteni Village allegedly threatened to chase her orphaned granddaughter, 17, from home if she refused to marry William Ncube from the same village.

She allegedly demanded $1,000 and a cow but William, the court heard, paid $500 and was given the girl.

The teenager, who is Ncube’s maternal granddaughter, dropped out of school as she could not pay fees.
74-Year-Old ‘Buys’ Teen Wife From Granny.
Ncube was charged with pledging a female person when she appeared before Lupane resident magistrate Ndumo Masuku yesterday.

Masuku convicted Ncube on her own plea of guilty and sentenced her to 12 months in jail, which she wholly suspended on condition she does not commit a similar crime within five years.

The magistrate said he considered that Ncube was an elderly person who had also lost eyesight.

Masuku said cases of guardians who are in the habit of giving away orphaned children for marriage in a bid to raise money or to avoid responsibility were now common. “The issue of viewing orphans as commodities of trade should stop. With all things being equal you were supposed to go to jail. However, you’re admitting to the charges, you’re of old age and your sight is impaired and for that I will give you a suspended sentence,” said the magistrate.

The Constitution protects adults above the age of 70 from custodial sentences.

Ncube begged the court for leniency.

“I know I was wrong and I’m sorry for that. As an elderly person, I thought I was helping my granddaughter out by getting her a husband. I didn’t know that it was illegal. I won’t do it again,” she said.

Prosecuting, Sanders Sibanda said the incident occurred sometime in August this year.

“William Ncube approached the accused and asked her to give him her granddaughter as a wife. The accused asked a neighbour to be a go-between for lobola negotiations upon which Ncube was paid $500 after charging $1,000 and a cow,” the prosecutor said.

The court was told that Ncube teamed up with another villager to threaten the girl into agreeing to marry the old man.

Out of fear the girl went to stay with the man but ran away after five days, the court heard. She went to stay with a villager who assisted her to make a report to the police, leading to her grandmother’s arrest.

Prosecutors said police in Lupane were still investigating if the old man raped the girl during their brief “marriage.”

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