Botswana: My siblings abuse me

Date: November 28, 2014
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I have experienced abuse at the hands of my siblings. In 1978 my parents divorced in the Peleng Central Customary Court. They decided that I should inherit their plot. My younger brother passed away in 2009, he was born in 1976. At the moment my elder sibling is putting pressure on me to change the ownership of the plot. This sibling is trying to forcibly evict me from my plot and has influenced my other siblings. They fight with me, using everything and everybody at their disposal. They verbally abuse me, slander my name and even talk behind my back with my ex boyfriends.

*Martha is going around telling people that the holes that the Chinese dug did not injure me, but that I was beaten by my boyfriends. My siblings even told people to lie and say that they beat me. They told them that the Chinese would give them money.

I am still waiting for feedback from court. This issue has been going on since 2008. I do not even have teeth because of the injuries I received. I am not happy because my siblings keep on passing remarks about me. They label me a witch and a thief. When I clean the yard, they soil it, just to provoke me. The abuse is so bad that even the neighbours are aware of it. At times the neighbours try to console me, advise me and ask me to be patient. Sometimes my siblings tell the neighbours that I am the one chasing them from our house.

At one point they tried to sell the plot without my knowledge. They then wrote a letter stating that they, the children of *Solly M, have all agreed to give my sibling, *Tumi, the plot in Lobatse and they asked me to sign the letter. I refused. They were all sent by my brother. Two of those who are fighting with me were given plots and sold them. One of them had a house in Mogoditshane and he sold it and tried to take the house in Lobatse.

When my sister, who lives with me, sweeps the yard she does not throw away the rubbish and when I ask her to tell her child to throw it away, she insults me and says that I do not want them in my house and that I go around telling people that the plot is mine.

This is the abuse that I experience. I need help. Please help me. I want these people to be evicted from my plot because I am tired of the abuse. We use different pots to cook for our children. I am not able to undertake improvements because, when I do so, they disturb any progress that I make. In 1999, the council called me from Hukuntsi and asked me to maintain the plot. I found that the doors and windows were dilapidated.

I went and spoke to my younger sibling’s child, Thokosile, who was not working. We prayed and by God’s grace he got a job at Choppies. I then started selling chibuku and I managed to renovate my house and connect electricity. We were still living with my elder sibling who used an electric stove with two plates and did not contribute towards the electricity bill. Even though she was working, she would not even give me P50.00 towards the electricity bill. Consequently, the electricity bill was too high and I could not pay it. Eventually, the electricity was cut.

When I try to do something in the house, my sister destroys it. When I made a makeshift shelter, she took the wood from it and used it. She pours urine under my window. When I plant vegetables in the garden she pours urine over them as well as oily water, just to make sure that nothing grows. I have been too patient and I am now too tired. My sister does not want to live in peace and harmony with me. I have tried to pray and talk to my sister and ask her if we can live in peace. I tell her not to listen to people who will not support her when she is sick, but she says that I talk nonsense and that I have no money. *Tumi gives her money and buys her cell phones just to make sure that she keeps harassing me.

That is my story, the story of my life. The story does not end here because I am still experiencing the abuse. My siblings send me threatening and vulgar messages almost on a daily basis. That is the story of my life.

*Not their real names

This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links News Service encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.

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