HARARE — Social media star Tyra Chikocho aka Madam Boss has come under fire for having an outburst on Friday about 14-year-old Memory Machaya, who died giving birth at an Apostolic Sect Johanne Marange shrine in Marange.
Machaya died last month and was buried in secret, sparking outrage from citizens and rights activists opposed to the exploitation of minors.
The United Nations and human rights organizations have called on the government to protect the rights of children, especially young women and girls.
Recent data from the Multiple Indicator Survey estimates that the rate of child marriage in Zimbabwe is 33%, slightly higher than the global average of 29%.
As a result, Zimbabwe is among 41 countries in the world with an alarming rate of child marriage.
Experts note that ending child marriage requires structural, institutional, community and individual strategies to address the factors that fuel the scourge.
As the Marange incident was condemned around the world and everyone on deck cried out to eradicate the scourge, Madam Boss, the brand ambassador for several companies including Nyaradzo Funeral Services, chose differently in trying to make a joke about the unfortunate incident.
In a leaked video, the social media star appeared to poke fun at activists pushing for the arrests of those involved in Machaya’s death.
She said protesting the incident would be a futile attempt to resolve the issue. People found his message “insensitive and incredibly tone-deaf”.
There was outrage on social media platforms, prompting Madam Boss to apologize via Facebook Live.
Yesterday she took to Facebook, where she again wrote an apology.
“I am once again sorry for all my fans and all the companies I represent,” Madam Boss posted on her Facebook page yesterday.
“I’m a very peaceful person who likes to keep things to myself and stick to what I do best and entertain my fans, even those who laugh at me.
“I have been accused of many things and called by different names, but it never interested me because I know myself [sic]. I am a mother and also a woman and my heart bleeds every time I see a woman or a girl suffer.
“That’s why I always post topics involving girl abuse.” She said the video was taken out of context and she remains a champion of the genre.
“I chose not to remain silent on this occasion because the Marange Shrine matter touched me and it pains me that my live video from a few days ago was taken out of context,” said Madam Boss.
“Nevertheless, I am here today to apologize to anyone who has been offended by this video and also to say that I am personally opposed to child marriage and very much hope that those responsible for the Marange Sanctuary will held accountable.”
Madame Boss, Mai Titi and controversial preacher Passion Java are said to be using social media to influence young people’s vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the 2023 elections.
In the meantime, the two actors have received high-end Mercedes-Benz compressors from Java.