A boy in Thyolo (name withheld on ethical grounds) has been forced to marrry an 80 year-old granny, Mary Domwe, as part of a debt settlement deal.
Elder brother to the boy, 29 year-old Michael Salamati Chatola, confirmed the development, saying their deceased mother owed Domwe K42,500 at the time of her death. The boy's family, which comprises of one female and two boys, has failed to settle the bill for the past six years, forcing them to give the boy up to Domwe as part of a deal to write off the debt.
"There is nothing we could have done. We have nothing, not even a maize field. It is our hope that once we find the money, we will be able to get him back," said Salamati-Chatola.
Meanwhile, the boy has started staying with the granny in Chitakale.
Whe asked for her side, Domwe said she was happy with the arrangement.
"However, let me say that people should not rush to conclusions. All the boy will be doing is help me with domestic and field work, and nothing of the sort that takes place in 'real' marriages will ever happen. He is alike a grandson to me," said Domwe.
Meanwhile, some concerned community members plan to report the issue to the District Social WelfareOffice.
Domwe and Salamati-Chatola are undazed: "Nothing will change," said Domwe, while the later said things could only change once the K42,500 is sourced.
"We are trying our best as a family," he said.