Lesotho: Malira

Date: September 9, 2014
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I am a Mosotho married woman and I would like to call myself Malira in this story. I am 40 years old and I live at Mohlakeng in the district of Thaba-Tseka. In 1992 I was working at the Ministry of Roads and I was working in my village. We were improving our community’s roads and we were paid money that helped us and our families. I was taking care of my family as I was married.

It was temporary job and when the project finished things changed. My life was very difficult because my mother-in-law did not like me anymore as I was not contributing anything. My mother in-law did not want anything to do with me. She said I was there just to finish the food; she was hiding food from me and always insulting me, calling me lazy and saying I did not want to work, but I was working and taking good care of them all. She also accused me of making her son not give her money, my husband!

She also did not like the idea that I wanted to build a house for my family; she would fight with me together with my sister in law. I was accused of wanting to have my own house so that I would totally forget about them and spend their son’s money as I liked, yet I was not the one who was working, but their son. My marriage was really difficult just because of my mother and sister in law. I felt that I was not part of that family and that was really putting a strain on my husband because he did not want to choose between his family and me as we were all part of his life. It was really difficult for me.

I was very young when I got married and my mother-in-law wanted to treat me like a school girl, but I was married and had a husband. My mother-in-law called a family meeting and told the whole family that I wanted to take her son from her and they all believed that I really was a bad daughter in law, she also said that I made life difficult for my sister in-law and I forgot that I was just a mere daughter in-law, she said that in front of the whole family. My life was very difficult; the whole family did not like me. The whole situation affected me emotionally and I was very moody towards my husband and sometimes would refuse to sleep with him.

My husband and I decided that we would look for a rented place so that my life could be better and they got very angry, saying I was taking away their son away and I wanted to eat his money alone. It was really bad and when I was about to move out and the car that was going to take my stuff was already there, they locked all my things away. I was unable to move out, they insulted me with the neighbors watching; I felt very small. I went to my husband’s work so that I could tell him about our situation and he did not know what to do. I do not know what he said to them, but apparently they opened the house and we managed to take our things. They would come to my place just to insult me and ask about their son’s money. I thought that when I was no longer staying with them, things would change, but they became even worse.
We settled in to our rented room and my husband started to drink alcohol and cheat on me. He would come home very drunk and tell me that he did not want to move from his parents’ home, but I had forced him because I was selfish and did not like his parents. I was very hurt when I heard him saying that because it was not the true.

He was no longer paying our children’s school fees as he was always drinking. If I managed to get piece jobs and buy new things, he would break them. When I told him that our children needed school fees he would tell me that I did not come to him with children and therefore the children were his and he would take care of them when he needed to. My children were really suffering. He would bring his girlfriends to our place and ask them to insult me and he would beat me up while the girlfriends were there and my children would always cry. This is the life I was living for my entire marriage, but I did not want to leave because I did not want people to say that I was not woman enough.

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



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