Zimbabwe: Moving from one abusive marriage to another

Date: October 10, 2019
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My name is Juliet Makaza* I was born in 1967 to a family of 11. Our family was made up of three boys and eight girls. The family was too big for our parents and they failed to build our future. I failed to go to school because our parents could not afford. I went to school up to form three and I failed to complete my ordinary level course because my parents failed to pay school fees for me. After failing to proceed with my education I invented plan B. 

I got married at an early stage because I saw it as the only solution to my problem. My husband was abusive and I gave birth to five children while staying with him. I stayed in that abuse marriage because I had nowhere to go and I was not prepared to leave my children. My husband was abusing alcohol and he used to beat me for no reason. He was in the habit of waking me up at midnight while everyone is asleep to beat me. Whenever, we cook chicken in our house there will be no peace because he wanted all the meat to be served to him. The situation tortured me and affected my health. I lost weight until I was wearing size 28 which is supposed to fit a form one pupil.  

My husband was a promiscuous person and he used to come home bragging about his girlfriends. I vividly remember how he used to come home with used condoms to show me. He would show me condoms containing sperms and bragged about the sexual encounter he had. After bragging he would drop the used condoms on the floor so that I will pick them in the morning while sweeping the house. Despite all this I continued living with him for the sake of my children.  

I later decided to leave him because his behaviour was becoming unbearable and it was hurting me more. I took my children and went to stay with my parents. I started surviving on piece jobs. I later managed to get a space at the bus rank where I started my business. I started cooking sadza, chicken and beef. The business grew and it was giving me surplus which I was using to take care of myself and the children. My life suddenly changed. 

I now had peace and I was living happily with my children. We could afford anything that we wanted. Unfortunately, the father of my children died in 2003.  The bus rank was relocated and my business stopped. I tried to continue operating the shop that was situated at the bus rank to no avail. I then decided to look for employment and I got a job at a local beer hall. The period coincided with the illness of my child. She suffered from cerebral malaria and it affected his ears and he became deaf. He is currently learning sign language so that he will be able to communicate. 

In 2008 I met another man who proposed to marry me and I accepted his proposal. We got married and started living together. The man stopped me from going to work because he said that he is not comfortable staying with a wife who works. Life became very difficult for me because he was not providing for the family. We went for three months without paying rentals and the landlord took my wardrobe and television. The incident really pained me because I bought the wardrobe with my own money. My new husband later decided to go to his home village where he wanted to be installed as the village head. He left and never came back.  

I was left with children to take care of. I started selling pork in my community so as to earn money for survival. I managed to send my child to a boarding school although I sometimes face challenges in paying schools or providing him with all the necessities. I want help from GL so that my husband will pay the rentals we owe the landlord and bring back my wardrobe. I also want to start a business so that I will educate my child who is currently doing form four.