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Defiant Apostolic Men Lure Young Girls Into Marriage With Zapnaks, Biscuits

17 August 2021

Now aged 47, Norest Kubaya (not her real name, she requested to use another name because her husband did not grant her permission to speak), who was married at the age of 12, has lost 10 children out of 14 births.

Kubaya, a member of the Johanne Marange apostolic sect, said she eloped in 1987 when she was in Grade Five though her father was vehemently against her early marriage.


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Speaking to The NewsHawks, Kubaya said she believes her children died at a tender age because they did not get adequate healthcare as infants, although she was lucky to survive, unlike many other child brides.

She shared her story following the death of 14-year-old Memory Machaya during labour in Marange on 15 July 2021.

When she eloped in 1987, Kubaya became the seventh bride. Her husband married four other minor wives after her.

She said the majority of women from the apostolic sect give birth at different shrines across the country. Kubaya said:

There are trained midwives at the shrine but, personally, I was attended to by my mother, who is also a midwife.

Several young women have died while giving birth because of complications that needed operations and may lose a lot of blood. The scenarios differ.

There will never be official statistics on how many young women have passed on during birth at the shrines. Burials are done secretly by few family members.

The doctrine is that we must not reveal much to outsiders. I lost 10 of my children at different ages, the oldest being seven years.

It was due to different illnesses, but I never went to the hospital to get medication for them. We accepted that it was natural for them to die. Even some of the newly married still believe this.

Kubaya said although women are not allowed to speak to the media, the death of Machaya “is so heart-rending” that it must not be swept under the carpet.

She said many young girls are lured into marriages by some uncaring and selfish men. She said:

If the truth was ever to be told, men in our sect deceive young girls. They lure them into marriage by providing some goodies.

The majority of these young girls, if they were given choices, could never get married early. Church members accept the abnormal as normal.

Many parents are against the early marriages and I am one of the elder women who teach the young girls against early marriages, but the young girls don’t listen.

Whenever they get goodies, including biscuits, zapnaks (snacks) among others, they can easily be married at a tender age.

Kubaya also revealed that that most of the men are defying Noah Taguta, the sect leader, who is against early marriage. She said:

Some Johanne Marange sect men are the worst culprits on child marriages as our leader Noah Taguta has on several occasions warned that he will never defend anyone who abuses young girls.

He even said anyone arrested over child marriage must face the wrath of the law and be jailed...

More: The NewsHawks

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