Culturally-inflicted child rights violation: a case of Khomba practice of Shangaan people in Zimbabwe
Wittingly or unwittingly, cultural rights should take central place in the consideration of rights issues and the striving towards a more just world order. Allegedly, harmful cultural practices have collided with children's rights in Zimbabwe and beyond. The study came after the realisation that child rights are being violated through the practice of khomba which is a rite of initiation for adolescents under the age of 18. Therefore, the study focused on interrogating the nature, reasons and community perceptions on culturally-inflicted child rights violations that are associated with the Khomba practice among the Shangaan people in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. This paper adopted a qualitative research design to capture the perceptions of 26 purposively sampled respondents regarding this rite of passage. During data collection, in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and field observations were utilised. The analysis of data was done through thematic content analysis in line with the research objectives. The study exposed a number of Khomba induced child rights violations including; interruption of schooling among adolescents and their exposure to sexually explicit content. It also noted that the rite continues to thrive mainly because of its association with tribal identity as well as authorities‟ hesitation to address the situation. Recommendations of the paper suggested ways in which holistic interventions can begin to address harmful cultural practices within social, legal and political contexts.
Keywords: Shangaan People, Child Rights, Khomba ritual, Zimbabwe