Chitengwa worsening domestic violence — Chewa Foundation

The Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) has advised chiefs to discourage chitengwa, saying it is worsening domestic violence against women and children.

Kasinja (L) and other officials during the meeting.-Photo by Mphatso Nkuonera. Mana

Chefo’s namkungwi (counsellor) for Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi, Dorothy Kasinja, said this during meetings in Dowa, Mchinji, Dedza and Salima districts.

Chitengwa is a marriage practice where a woman lives  at her husband’s home as opposed to chikamwini where the man settles at the woman’s home.

Kasinja said chitengwa is not part of Chewa culture and has been recorded as one of the factors contributing to gender-based violence among the Chewa.

“When marriages break up or husbands die, wives and children are ordered to go back to their home of origin.

“But when the women goes back to their parents with their children, they find no house to live in and no land to cultivate,” she said.

Mpenu Magistrate’s Court senior clerk Henry Chimtengo said his office is overwhelmed with cases of women forced out of their husbands’ homes.

“I appeal to all Chewa chiefs to opt for chikamwini because men live at their spouses’ home.

“Worse still, men defy court orders to construct matrimonial homes for their wives whenever the court annuls their marriage,” he said.

Evangelical Association of Malawi gender justice project coordinator the Reverend Timothy Zimba said the project has discovered that women and children face domestic violence especially after tobacco sales.

The meetings were organised with funding from Norwegian Church Aid.

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Jeffrey Sichinga
Jeffrey Sichinga
4 years ago

I am in total agreement. Chikamwini should be advocated particularly by encouraging women to resist Chitengwa

4 years ago

Some of us decided when we were growing up that we would never follow a man to his home and stay there. The key was getting educated and working and building a house together (it also works when married women buy or build their own house). Women should stop following men. In the modern world, where we need women to be educated and working, a woman and man should agree on where to stay when they get married. They will both contribute their earnings to building/buying a house and therefore each will be entitled to 50%. White people (Europeans have… Read more »

4 years ago
Reply to  najere

You seem to have substantive matter between your ears alright.
Suffice to say, girls and young women should be thinking like you.

4 years ago

I am Chewa and I disagree with the generalization. there are atengwa in our communities who are living happily. even after their husbands. In my village/Mchinji we keep older widows Where do you want to the family to be living “Chikamwini.” I lived and worked in the south there Chikamwini is terrible. Ask honest southerners they will tell you akamwini are literally enslaved. Akaphunitsa ana, kumanga nyumba basi ntchito yawo yatha. Kapena kumawatuma kukazinga chimanga pa maliro chokadya adzukulu kumanda. The approach is not to end chitenhwa but to address violenvce and property grabbing Whoever sponsored this meeting had not… Read more »

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