Lesotho: Happy as I am

Date: November 26, 2014
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My name is *Limpho. I am 33 years old, I have been married for eight years and I have no children. I may look well but my happy marriage has turned into a sour one. The last six years were okay, but now things have changed. I met my husband nine and a half years ago. We were staying in one of the rental houses at Ha-Thetsane before we could build our house. That is where my husband and I first met.

Back then, he was a cool guy with no fusses. I was staying in room number one and he was staying at the end of the six houses. Unlike the other three guys who were staying there (all single), he seemed a better, more well behaved guy because he did not have any girls coming over to visit him. However, what I did not like about him was his drinking and smoking, but he was cute and smart.

Then one day fate turned me into the lucky one. I secretly had a crush on him. He asked me to help him with his washing and I jumped at the opportunity so that I could get closer to him. I washed his clothes, ironed them, and in the afternoon, presented myself at his door. He welcomed me, and offered me a snack and soft drink. While chatting, he asked me if I would do him the favour of cooking his dinner. Because I wanted to spend some time with him, I agreed. He did not have chairs so I would sit on the bed with him. I started preparing the meal, with him giving me precise instructions on what to prepare, and how. After I had finished cooking, there on the bed, he made advances to me that I did not resist. I ended up sleeping in his room that night. That was the start of our relationship, until a year later when we got married.

Some months later, he changed. He would not have me speak with any of my male neighbours at any time. He once caught me near the toilet, speaking to one male neighbour, and when we got inside the house, he beat me. I was shocked. A few days later, I received a text message from my ex-boyfriend, asking about life and what had happened to me. I was just as surprised to hear from him, but my man acted as if it was my fault. He punched me in the face and everywhere and also threw my phone into the water bucket. I was bruised on the face and had to hide behind dark glasses to cover my bruises. When things had settled down, I politely asked him why he had suddenly turned into this monster of a husband. His only explanation was that he loved me and did not want to lose me.

I retrieved my sim card from the dead phone and bought a new, cheaper phone. One evening, he told me that we both had to confess and tell each other the truth about our past relationships. I smelt trouble coming, so I lied and said that I had only ever had two past relationships. He told me about five of his, which had never worked. Then he demanded that we call our ex partners with the phones on loudspeaker mode. He made the calls first; I was so annoyed that I made him call all the females on his contact list. However, there was no response there that gave me even the slightest suspicion. My turn came, and I realised that I would not score like him, since I had not been honest about my previous relationships. I worried what he would find out if he now called all the males on my contact list.

We had agreed on what to say to our “peopleÀ; to simply tell them that we were married and would like them to delete our numbers from their phones. So he let me call all the males in my phonebook. I tried to be calm but I knew something was about to come up. Just a few calls down the list, two of my ex’s were begging me to take them back, saying they still loved me blah blah, blah…, regardless of my efforts to contain them. To make matters worse, another ex-boyfriend of mine was literally crying, reciting the good times we had, including our intimacy, and swearing that he would rather die than part with me. That was enough to drive my husband out of control; he stormed out of the house and did not come back until four hours later, totally drunk!

He locked the door and pocketed the key. Then he took our biggest washbasin from the top of the wardrobe and filled it to the brim with water. He attacked me: pushed me around, shoved things into my face, and threw me against the furniture. I fell and he stomped my body heavily with his feet, then he tied both my hands behind me, and then my feet. He brought me up to a kneeling position near the washbasin and shoved my head into the water countless times: he would pull it out when I drowned. At the same time he was hurling insults at me, accusing me of not giving him a child. I was exhausted, in pain.

He untied me and left me lying on the floor. When I could find my feet again, I ran to my neighbours and reported the incident. They advised me to “vamooseÀ and run for my life. I have relatives in Ladybrand, and as soon as I could, with my neighbour’s assistance, I packed my bags, called a taxi, and was out of town in a flash! I am currently staying alone and happy; no more men in my life. I seldom meet with him and when we do, he keeps apologising, claiming that he believes he was bewitched and may have let the alcohol get the better of him, but that he really is sorry and wants me to come back. I have repeatedly told him “noÀ. I cannot. I am happy as I am.

*Not her real name

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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