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Marriages Declining, Divorce Rising In South Africa; Experts Blame Commercialization

Update Date: Mar 01, 2017 07:04 PM EST
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Researchers have found the reason why the number of marriages is declining and divorce cases are rising in South Africa. Reports of commercialization of the custom in the country make it difficult for people to marry.

Professor Dori Posel and Dr. Stephanie Rudwick of the University of KwaZulu-Natal have discovered that the cost of lobola is a significant factor behind the declining number of marriages in South Africa. Lobola is referred to as bride wealth. It is in a form of cash or in kind the husband to be or his family will give to the family of the bride. Some people in the region do not consider people married unless they had gone through the practice of lobola.

Rudwick said that poor families are struggling to pay for the customary ritual contributing to the declining number of marriages. Most young men find it difficult to come up with the amount asked by the bride's family, according to Rudwick.

Data from Stats South Africa found that from 2013 to 2014, there was a decline of 12.5 percent in customary marriages. However, during the past decade, there was a massive decline.

The average cost of wedding in South Africa in 2016 was $5,400 to $6,100 for 80 to 100 people according to Great Occasions wedding planner.  However, prices could easily shoot up to $15,300.

While marriages are declining in South Africa, divorce rates are steadily climbing up. Stats SA showed that there are 23,885 divorces in 2013. By 2014, it had climb up to 24,689. It is alarming that 75.6 percent of the marriages solemnized by the Department of Home Affairs end up in divorce.

The most common age of divorce in South Africa is 42 years old for men, and 38 years old for women. Most divorces takes place after five to nine years in marriage. Most divorce cases are initiated by women with 51.7 percent than by men with only 34.4 percent.

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