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Memory’s Death: Let’s Break Link Of Religiosity, Politics & Patriarchy – Magaisa

7 August 2021

Alex Tawanda Magaisa, a law lecturer and former Chief of Staff in the office of the late former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said the issue of child marriages can be addressed by breaking the link connecting religiosity, politics and patriarchy.

He speaks as calls are increasing for the state to ensure justice for Memory Machaya, a 14-year-old girl who died on 15 July during childbirth at a church shrine in Marange, Manicaland. Pindula News presents Magaisa's Twitter thread.


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I have observed the expression of outrage at the horrible death of #MemoryMachaya the 14-year-old who died during childbirth. Her death shames the nation. She was just a child. But we will continue to kill Memory unless we crack the nexus of religiosity, politics & patriarchy.

I have posted this collage of pictures to illustrate that there’s need for non-partisan introspection. Don’t get me wrong, ZANU PF is the governing party and therefore the duty-holder that has greater responsibility. But pandering to toxic religiosity is a national pandemic.

There’s nothing wrong with religiosity but it is vital to acknowledge the existence of toxic religiosity. It is under this toxicity that vulnerable people “freely” give away their meagre savings on the promise of miracles & girls are forced into unions with predatory old men.

Patriarchy is the elephant in the room. Patriarchy is “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it”. It is the core of the sect into which #MemoryMachaya was born, raised & killed. But it is not the preserve of this sect.

It is a societal problem. Many of us, both men & women, who are outraged by what happened to #MemoryMachaya do so on public platforms but we are champions & defenders of patriarchy when we retreat to other spaces. We encourage it sometimes without even realising we are.

The point is while those responsible for the rape and death of #MemoryMachaya must face justice, we as society must also take a deep look at ourselves. The nexus between politics & religiosity needs unraveling but we must also confront our abiding loyalty to patriarchy.

The United Nations in Zimbabwe has also expressed deep concern and strongly condemned circumstances leading to the untimely death of a 14-year-old who was reportedly forced to leave school for marriage when she was in form 1.

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