Zimbabwe: The effects of child headed family destroyed my life

Date: October 9, 2019
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My name is Beatrice* I was left as an orphan at the age of eleven. My twin sister and I were the eldest and had to look after our three younger siblings. We continued staying at our late parents’ homestead all by ourselves. The Social Welfare department assisted us with food stuffs for our survival. Camfed Zimbabwe also made sure that our school fees and school uniforms were available. My siblings and I would not have survived or managed to attend school if they had not chipped in. 

I eloped to Munyaradzi*, my boyfriend, when I was seventeen years old because he had impregnated me. Munyaradzi* accepted and accompanied me to his rural home. He left me in the care of his elderly parents and returned to Gweru. He never sent any groceries, clothing and preparation for the unborn child. He rarely visited me in his rural area. My twin sister also got married at that time and my uncles took charge of my siblings’ welfare. 

 I had to go around the community doing some odd jobs to buy something for the unborn child. Munyaradzi* never bought anything for the unborn child even when he visited he would not have anything for my welfare. I continued doing menial jobs within the community so as to buy some foodstuffs at home as if Munyaradzi* did not exist. When I went to my uncles to complain they told me that all marriages were like that hence I had to fight hard for it to be sustainable. They ordered me to return to Munyaradzi*’s home area. I had no choice but to go back to my abusive husband’s place. 

When Munyaradzi* visited he would force me to have sex with him. One day he visited and found me away doing some paid duties at some homestead. He searched through my belongings and came across some contraceptives which I was using. He intentionally drenched them in water and put them out to dry. Munyaradzi* then returned them where he had found them. He just wanted to make me pregnant for the second time. I was not prepared to have a second child because of the hardships I was facing. If Munyaradzi* was being supportive, I could have seen it from a different perspective. My husband achieved his motive because in no time I was pregnant for the second time. I only realised that I was pregnant when it was already five months. 

One of the people in the area realised how sorrowful my life was and advised me to approach Bulawayo Msasa Shelter branch. I did not waste time and after narrating my ordeal to them they took me in.