Woman Forward leader Nana Ngobese wants the practice of ukuthwala stopped. Photo: Molaole Montsho.

RUSTENBURG - The practice of ukuthwala must be eliminated, Woman Forward said on Tuesday.

"The practice, which is barbaric and backwards, occurs mainly in rural parts of South Africa, in particular, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. The Basotho call it tjhobediso. The girls, who are young and naive, lose their virginity and end up being with that man because no one would accept somebody who has been deflowered by another man," said party leader Nana Ngobese.

Ukuthwala is the practice of abducting young girls and forcing them into marriage, often without the consent of their parents.

She said the practice also leads to female genital mutilation, which is recognised as a violation of the human rights of women and girls.

"Female genital mutilation reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It violates a person's right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to life when the procedure results in death." 

She said the party would also regulate lobola as some people use it as a business.

"The purpose of lobola is to thank the brides family for their efforts in the upbringing of their daughter. Now other families charge high prices of up to about R250,000 as if the bride is a commodity. The practice is a thank you and it should be just that. The way it is done these days it has lost its meaning. The so-called damages should be limited to R500 only and the lobola to R2,500 only,"  she said.

Woman Forward is one of the 48 parties contesting the May 8 general election. 

African News Agency (ANA)