Women rights activist recounts abusive marriage

HARARE - Marriage is perceived as sacred in the African culture and divorce is not an option for most African women as the act will be followed by name calling, shaming, and alienation from some family members.

As much as things are rapidly changing with more people warming up to the idea that there is life after divorce, some are still stuck in the past and still carry and shower poisonous hurting opinions about women who decide to leave their marriages, regardless of the reasons.

Some women divorcees have failed to rise above such stereotyping and have drowned with craze and cannot walk with their heads held high as they have been robbed of their self worth by a very harsh society.

The Dailynews on Sunday caught up with a young single mother who has managed to heal and move on after escaping a life threatening abusive marriage.

Married at the age of 19 Mazvita Madondo thought life was full roses and little did she know that her prince charming will turn into a wild beast.

 “I was married at 19 to a coloured guy who was so abusive and would drink on a daily basis. He had a problem with me working as he would come to my workplace and accuse me of extra marital affairs which l never had,” Madondo broke the ice.

“He was so insecure that he even grounded me and would deny me the right to visit my maternal home. It was hard for me to keep a job as he would always come and create drama at my workplace or beat me pulp accusing me of dating my bosses until l give up on the job.”

Madondo said she held on for a long time thinking that he will change as most of the times she would return to her parents’ house and try to move on but the husband would come and apologise.

“Our cultural norms also played a role for me to hold on to this marriage because you will be told it happens and this is what we went through also,” sha said

Madondo’s husband would jeopardised everything she tried doing to earn money yet he also demanded money from her and would threaten suicide.

“Sometimes if things didn't get well for him and falls short of money, he claimed to take his life and this abused me emotionally, one day in September not sure of the year he claimed to take his life and went out.

“I remained inside the house then he came back and hit me with an umbrella telling me that I don’t care about him why didn't I follow,” Madondo said.

She vividly took the Dailynews on Sunday down the memory lane when she was three months pregnant in 2011, when she asked her mother-in-law to keep some money which she would later use to book a doctor for her antenatal clinic.

Upon hearing that Madondo gave money to his mother to keep for future use, Madondo’s husband went ballistic.

 “He hit me so hard and l remember trying to cover my stomach to protect my unborn child. He pushed me out of the bed and l fell down. l ran to his mom's bedroom to save myself and he followed me and hit me with a side lamp until it broke into pieces,” Madondo said, almost breaking down to tears.

 “The day l finally decided to pack my bags and leave was when he broke a dinner plate and threatened to stab me, at that moment reality struck and l knew l had to walk away.

“I realised that no love was worth my life because continuing in such a relationship would have claimed my life in the long run and my now ex-husband had anger issues,” Madondo said.

Madondo said when she finally left, her ex-husband found it hard to believe as he thought she will return just like she used to do.

“My ex thought it was one of those time where I will go and come back after he apologised because whenever he abused me he will ask for forgiveness and I would go back him again,” she said.

 “He started coming to apologise countless times but l had made my mind after 5 years of being abused.

Life after marriage was not easy for Madondo as she was jobless and had to face the harsh world where some of her relatives frowned upon her decision to leave her marriage.

 “My family especially my brother wasn't happy about me leaving my marriage, he was ashamed of what society thought; that single mothers are a disgrace in the community and are home wreckers and man snatchers,” Madondo said.

“I felt I was not belonging to the family, it was very hard for me.”

Madondo said growing up her mother encouraged her to use her hands to earn a living and that is how she managed to survive and take care of her child.

“I learnt from my sisters how to plait hair and I would do people's hair and will accept any amount that they offered even if it was not enough, I did it to keep up,” she said.

 “I saved money until it was enough to buy a bale of clothes then started selling, that was my starting point.

“After realising that l can do it, I applied for a passport and started crossing borders to Tanzania and as far as China to buy clothes, shoes, and accessories for resell.

“That is how l initially got my balance. I then started an organization which is aimed at engaging men and boys in fight against HIV/AIDS and New infections through attitude ;social and cultural change and advocate for the empowerment and rights of women and girls,” Madondo said.

Today Madondo is a women rights activist and urges women to speak out and stand up for themselves.

“Women should always know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and learn to speak out and stand up for themselves to feel self worthy. A brighter future awaits them as long as they empower themselves  not only with capital but with knowledge as well,” she said.

    Comments (2)

    Powerful insights indeed. Its high time we unite as women and work together to help other women who are in abusive marriages.

    Nyasha Mandisodza - 14 February 2019

    2caroline chiimba newe @Nyasha mandisodza hamuna kukwana hamuvake misha imi murivekuputsa hamuna kurairwa hongu abuse n violence hazvina kunaka asi dirvoce haasi solution.God hates dirvoce iyi ndoiri kuendera vazhinji kugehena

    g40 - 15 February 2019

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