Monday, September 27, 2021

Marriages in Botswana undented by Covid-19

While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought changes in social behaviour and at times affected union formation in some countries, Botswana remained unscathed. 

A fresh report from Statistics Botswana (SB) has revealed that “the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic did not negatively affect marriage trends,” in Botswana.

The Marriage Statistics Brief 2020 which presents information on civil marriages that were registered in 2020 notes that there was a 6.9 percent increase in the number of marriages from 2019 to 2020. 

This is in stark contrast to some countries in the region where the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic strained families and led to divorce rates soaring. The report notes that “Gaborone and Kweneng east recorded the highest proportions of marriages with each recording 10.8 percent of all marriages in 2020,” while Sowa town registered “the lowest number of marriages accounting for 0.1 percent of all marriages”.

The report also notes that publishing of Banns prior to solemnisation of marriages is the most commonly used marriage process with 99.4 percent of the registered marriages publicised in that way. Publishing of banns requires that a public notice of intention to marry be publicised for a period of at least three weeks before the solemnisation. The alternative way would be to apply for a special license, and this comprised of 0.6 percent. 

Among other things, the report states that “more women than men married at younger ages (under 35 years) and more men than women married at older ages (35years and over). This pattern reflects that, on average, men tend to form relationships with women younger than themselves”.

While the Marriage Act (2001) states that no minor or person below the age of 21 years may marry without consent from parents or guardians, 2020 recorded “twenty-five marriages (0.3 percent) in which the brides were aged less than 21 years and none of the grooms were aged less than 21”. Furthermore, the 35-39 and 30-34 age groups had the highest percentage of marriages respectively.

In Botswana, marriage is regulated by statute (under marriage Act 2001). Marriage is an institution recognised in Botswana where two people of different sex are united.

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