There are two basic types of marriage in Namibia – civil marriage and customary marriage. A
civil marriage is one that is solemnised by a state-recognised marriage officer (usually a
magistrate or a religious leader such as a minister or a priest) in terms of the Marriage Act 25
of 1961, and registered in terms of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act 81 of
A customary marriage is one that is entered into in terms of the customs and traditions of the couple’s community. These customs differ in different Namibian communities. There is as yet no formal legal recognition of customary marriages, although they are recognised in various statutes for specific purposes.