Botswana: My marriage was wrecked

Botswana: My marriage was wrecked

Date: December 3, 2014
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*Trigger warning: Violence*

I got married in 1993 and was blessed with five children, one boy and four girls. My relationship with my husband gradually soured and in 1996 we divorced. We were running a transport business and my husband was the driver. This meant that he would spend most of his time transporting commuters within Mochudi. This gave him easy access to money and women, and within no time he had more than three girlfriends in Mochudi. He would sometimes sleep out and only come home in the early hours of the morning.

I knew the women with whom he was involved. I knew everything about his relationships and the places he went to with these women. One day I followed him to a local motel, where I found him outside with his arms around a woman. I called out his name and when he saw me he attacked me, throwing me to the ground with a heavy punch to my face. I was rushed to hospital bleeding and was immediately admitted. I still bear a scar on my face.

On another occasion, he came home in the early hours of the morning and demanded sex from me.   I refused as I knew that he was sleeping with another woman. He started beating me, trying to force himself onto me but I stood my ground and then ran outside the house. He followed me out, so I picked up a bottle and hit him on the chest. He started bleeding profusely and his combi conductor took him to the hospital where he was admitted.

I went to the police station to open a case of domestic violence. His parents wanted me to be locked up but the police insisted that since I was the complainant and still nursing a newborn baby, I could not be detained. The case was taken to the Kgotla and the chief referred it to Metlhaetsile (a women’s rights NGO). We both then settled for divorce.

The violence and abuse I endured from my ex-husband made me fearful of men, and I remained outside a relationship for three years. I only started dating another man in 2000. The man had a serious relationship with another woman and they were in the process of getting married, but he told me nothing of that. All I knew was that he was all mine and I was all his. In 2003, I was summoned to the main Kgotla by his girlfriend who claimed that I was destroying her relationship. The case was dismissed for lack of evidence but the man went on to marry the woman in 2005. Although I was heartbroken, I accepted the situation and moved on as a single woman.

There was a man who fell for me in 2003 but I dismissed him as I was not interested in him at the time. I met the man again in 2007 and he continued to express an interest in me. I then agreed to his advances and we started dating. We were deeply in love with each other and by 2010 we decided to take our relationship to the next level, marriage. He was also a divorcee and had three children from his first marriage. He also had children with other women outside marriage. When we got married I moved in with my two younger daughters. He had custody of all his children and they lived with us for a while before voluntarily going to stay with their mother in Lentsweletau.

Things took a bad turn when one of my older daughters fell pregnant. I wanted to bring her to live with us so that I could take care of her until the baby was born, as is the norm in Tswana culture. My husband was not comfortable with that and he suggested that I move to my daughter’s place instead. I moved out temporarily, but came home occasionally to check on him and the children.

While I was away, my husband started seeing another woman. The woman was even spending nights with my husband in our matrimonial bed. One day I ambushed them in the early hours of the morning and caught them red handed. I was very angry and disappointed, more so because I really loved this man. He apologised to me and I swallowed it. We moved on.

Later, my husband was re-deployed and received monetary benefits. We agreed on how to invest the money, but while I was in the process of investing the money, my husband called in one of his daughters from his first marriage and they started spending the money recklessly.


He even asked my children to give way to his daughter, reminding them that the home belonged to his children. His daughter also started disrespecting and insulting me, accusing me of bewitching her father into marrying me. I thought my husband would intervene but he did not, so our relationship hit rock bottom. Eventually, I moved back to my parents’ home until we divorced.

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