Zimbabwe: A chain of restrictions that shattered my career

Date: October 10, 2019
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My name is Tafadzwa* I am the first born in a family of seven that is four girls and three boys. I grew up in a Christian family that guarded jealously the Christian values. My father was an ordained Catholic priest and he taught Christian values to his children and expects them to live according to the Christian doctrine.  

Our family was a middle class earner and my parents were both employed. Being the first born I was expected to do all household chores. The responsibility of running the house was squarely on my shoulders because my mother was spending most of the time at work. I was also responsible for taking care of my siblings. The situation was eating too much time from my study and it impacted negatively on my school work. 

I requested my parents to enroll me at a boarding school so that I concentrate more on my education but they refused. They said that they cannot afford to send me to a boarding school because my siblings also want to go to school. I realised that despite the fact that my parents were both working but the family was too big for them and they were failing to meet our needs.  I accepted my fate and the situation continued. 

I managed to complete my ordinary level but I failed all the eight subjects that I wrote. The reason for my failure was that I failed to study due to the pressure at home. I rarely found time to read because I was always doing household chores. After failing my education I went to stay with my uncle out of frustration. I stayed at my uncle’s farm for three years. I was working like a slave but I benefited nothing out of it.  

I was later helped by well wishers who volunteered to enroll me at a local vocational centre to study cutting and designing. However, I disappointed them and refused to study cutting and designing and I enrolled under secretarial department. After completing the secretarial course I failed to get a job because I did not have an ordinary level certificate. The situation prompted me to return to my parents and apologised for making the wrong decision. They accepted my apology and I enrolled to study cutting and designing. I successfully completed the course. 

A certain local business person employed me in her craft shop. I demonstrated my talents in cutting and designing and my employee loved me a lot. She gave me accommodation on top of the remuneration she was giving me on monthly basis. The time of my transformation coincided with my first love. I met Timothy* whom I fell in love with at first sight.  

I got married to Timothy* and wed. After our wedding we started living together happily. The happiness did not last long because Timothy* and his relatives instructed me stop going to work. I disobeyed them and that marked the genesis of my abuse. Unfortunately, Ilost my job and Timothy became the bred winner. He was using all his money elsewhere and he was not providing for the family. He started having girlfriends and spending all the money with them. I struggled with the children until I got a job as a secretary at a local school. I moved to stay at that school and left Timothy* behind. I lived with my children for three months and Timothy* later followed us.  

I saved money from my salary and I gave it to Timothy* so that he will start and income generating project because he was jobless. He started buying and selling cattle and his business grew. Unfortunately, he went back to his old self. He started abusing acohol and he was not providing for the family. When I lost my job again things became worse. I was living in extreme poverty with the children while the father was splashing money on prostitutes.  

I later decided to leave Timothy* and I went back to my parents’ home. I stayed there hoping that Timothy* will one day come back to his senses and follow me but he never did. I went to the courts and filed a child care case and judgment was granted in my favour. I served Timothy* with the papers instructing him to pay $80 per month towards the upkeep of the children. Timothy* ran away and to date I do not know where he is staying and he is not paying the money.