In early 2016, Ruvimbo Tsopodzi and Loveness Mudzuru, two child brides, appealed to the highest court in Zimbabwe – the Constitutional Court – to amend the Marriage Act. The Act as it stood stated that a child of 16 could get married with parental consent. Supported by ROOTS, a Girls Not Brides member, Ruvimbo and Loveness decided not to get justice not only for themselves but also for all the thousands of girls married off each year. Their appeal was successful and marked a significant step towards ending child marriage in a country where 1 in 3 girls are married before the age of 18.
At 16 Ruvimbo was forced to marry a man she had not chosen. “My experience was painful. I was made to sleep outside when I was pregnant… I was not used to eating one meal a day but this became the norm. I used to be beaten up until I realized that this abuse should not happen to me or to another girl child. This motivated me to take the issue of child marriage to court.”
Ruvimbo boldly sought a way out. First, she persuaded her father to let her continue education and follow her dream to become a nurse, and then at the age of 19, went to court with Loveness to fight for the rights of all girls in Zimbabwe.
Ruvimbo has continued her activist role as an Ambassador for ROOTS and in this video interview talks about her past as a child bride and child mother, her reasons for wanting change, and her thoughts on the progress that still needs to be made towards ending child marriage in Zimbabwe.
She stresses the importance of education for girls, and the need for young women to take control of their own destinies: “I would like to urge young girls to protect themselves and value education, without education there is no life”.
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