The coronavirus pandemic has caused sharp and steady increase in marriages in the country raising fears of high divorce cases in the future.
The brief further revealed that the outbreak of COVID-19 did not negatively affect marriage trends. Wedlocks during this era dubbed ‘COVID-19 marriages’ have proven to be cheaper as many couples have been taking advantage of the pandemic whittling down related costs.
Recently, many couples both young and old, have been getting married in high numbers. Wedding statistics went up after COVID-19 protocols restricted large weddings and therefore allowing 50 people to partake in nuptials.
The guidelines further restricted catering at weddings and also allowed patlo, magadi and pholoso, which are cheaper than the normal weddings where proceedings end up being delayed unnecessarily. This time around, families make sure that wedding procedures are completed on time. This has made things easier and cheaper for many couples.
The Stats Botswana brief of 2020 further demonstrated that more women than men married at younger ages of less than 35 years and more men than women married at older ages of 35 years and above.
It was expressed by the marriage brief as a pattern that reflects on average, men tend to form relationships with women younger than themselves.
It further clarified that according to the Marriage Act of 2001, no minor or person below the age of 21 years not being a widower or widow may marry without the consent in writing of their parents or guardians.
“There were 25 marriages in which the brides were aged less than 21 years and none of the grooms were aged less than 21 years. The age group with the highest percentage of marriages was the 35 to 39 and 30 to 34 age groups for males and females respectively,” reads the marriage brief.
Regarding the age difference, the brief demonstrated that in the majority of marriages where the groom was older than the bride accounted to 82% of marriages with 11.1% being those in which the groom was younger than the bride and 6.9 percent of the unions in which partners were of the same age.
Furthermore, it showed the mean age at first marriage for bachelors increased from 40 to 42 years between 2019 and 2020 and the comparable figure for spinster was 35 to 36 years. However, it further showed that the median age at marriage in 2020 for males and females was 40 and 35 years respectively.
“The high mean age at first marriage might be due to the ‘Re a nyalana programme’ as this programme encourages partners who have been living together without any formal documentation to formalise their union through the common law marriage. Most of these partners are elderly people and hence the high mean age at marriage,” further stated the brief.
Moreover, it further suggested that men tend to marry younger women irrespective of the marital status of the bridegroom at the time of marriage. The brief further stated that it was interesting to note that, compared to spinsters, women who were previously married tend to marry younger men.
It showed that 10.8% of grooms were younger than their brides whose marital status was spinster at the time of the marriage. The figures further illustrated that brides whose marital status was divorcee and widow was 20.6% and 26.8% respectively.
“Males who were getting married for the first time were at 91.5% and spinsters accounted for 96.8% of all marriages. More men than women tend to opt for remarriage after their first marriage as evidenced by a higher percentage of remarriages of divorced and widowed men compared to women,” reads the brief.