While it is only legal for any couple intending to get married to have attained the age of 18 in most African countries, one couple defied the odds.
Buomkuoth Wiyual, 16, and Nyabuay Thiol Biel, 15, who both hail from South Sudan tied the knot in a colorful wedding on December 18.
The ceremony, which took place in Gambella Region in western Ethiopia, was reportedly graced by the teenagers’ parents and religious leaders.
In South Sudan, the legal age of marriage is 18 years. However, research by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that 52 percent of all girls are usually married off before attaining the age.
Even worse, about a third of girls get pregnant before turning 15.
Among other reasons for early marriages such as cultural beliefs, poverty seemingly stands out. “Girls are married off early for the family to collect dowry,” UNICEF says.
The wedding photos have been making rounds on the internet, sparking mixed reactions globally.