Friday, 2 April 2021


BULAWAYO has the highest number of heads of households who have never been married and the lowest percentage of couples living together.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee ZimVAC (2020) Urban Livelihoods Assessment report’s latest statistics show that 22 percent of household heads in Bulawayo have never been married.

The Bulawayo percentage is double the national average of head of households who have never been married which sits at 10,5 percent.The average household head is 40 years of age.

Matabeleland South has the second highest number of household heads that have never been married at 15 percent followed by Masvingo at 14 percent with the other provinces having less than 10 percent. Matabeleland North has 6,1 percent.

The Zimvac report does not state the gender of the household heads or reasons why they are not married. In another measure, Bulawayo has the least number of married couples at 50 percent and has the lowest divorce rate at eight percent.

Social commentator Mr Cont Mhlanga said the statistics were quite unusual as this is not common.

He said in the past, it was common to have a head of household living in separation but it would be known where the husband or wife would be.

“This is shocking, to hear of heads of households that have never married. My assumptions are that the biggest pressure comes with education where inferiority complex comes in as more women are more educated than men. Then the Ndebele ego does not subscribe to one who is more independent and earns more money than a man. So, what that has done has left some men living their lives minus being married,” he said. Mr Mhlanga said some men opt to live with their children as they do not want to pay maintenance.

“So, they find it better to just pay lobola for their children and take the child, as some believe that through paying maintenance their money would be spent by other men who would have found courtship of the woman they had a child with. The third aspect could be this is the issue of migration,” he said

Mr Mhlanga said while in the past years, it was men who would migrate, now its men who remain home looking after children.

Padare/Enkundleni Men’s Forum programmes coordinator Mr Ziphongezipho Ndebele said Bulawayo was once an industrial hub in the country and the closure of some industries may mean more men are unemployed and cannot raise money for lobola.

“It can be the economic situation. For a man to marry he needs money to pay lobola and responsibilities that come with marriage. the economy has also informalised with women now more involved,” he said.

Studies in other countries have shown that some people decide not to get married because they want to focus more on themselves or are dissuaded by married friends, are satisfied with current life or want to escape the burdens associated with marriage and parenting. Chronicle


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