Wishing for a home for my children

Date: September 23, 2009
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He had two wives but divorced the first wife and married a third wife. Unlike the second wife, the third wife never liked me at all. I suspect it was because I was not her blood granddaughter. She became even more jealous when she realised that she was not becoming pregnant, while I already had children.
During my stay with my grandfather and his wives, life was difficult and there was a lot of unhappiness around the house. My grandmothers did not get along with each other. The third wife was the one who was the problem. She did not like the second wife, although the second wife really tried to get along with her.
The third wife used to drink and when she was drunk, she would start insulting the second wife, claiming that it was her house and that she must go and stay somewhere else.  
One day when I was ten-years-old, my grandmother (the third wife) chased me away from home. My grandfather looked for me until he found me. He built me a shack where l stayed with my friends. In the shack, we would bring boys in because we wanted them to buy us food.
When she heard that my grandfather built a shack for me, my grandmother came and chased me away again. I left the shack and started sleeping here and there, until l heard from people that my grandfather had passed away.
I went to my grandfather’s house and when l got there, they where already preparing for the funeral. We buried my grandfather and after that the third wife had already gone to fetch her children who were not my grandfather’s children.
The third wife was the one that was legally married to my grandfather, so when my grandfather passed away, she took away everything including the house, even though my grandfather registered the house in my name.
The third wife started insulting the second wife and me, telling us to leave the house. When she saw that we were not leaving, she consulted an Inyanga where she was getting muthi to bewitch the second wife. The second wife started to get sick, every now and then her legs got swollen, and so the second wife decided to leave the house.
Soon after the second wife left, the third wife turned on me and it was worse. She never wanted me to stay in that house and I ended up leaving after she called the police on me.
Now I am staying with my real sister’s grandmother but I’m not happy because when she is drunk she tends to call me names. For example, she like saying, “This thing that was born by a bitch, that doesn’t even know her mother or her father.À
Later, the grandfathers’ house was sold to the second wife and she also changed her attitude on me because of the third wife’s influence. The two wives know that my grandfather left the house to me, and so they are jealous that I might be able to take it away from them.
At the moment I’m in pain because l do not want my children to live the life l went through. Until now, l cannot even go to my grandfather’s house because my step-grandmother’s children stay there and they don’t even want to see me.
When l go to that house, grandfathers’ children tell me that I am not needed there and that I am not of that family. Now, l have children who have different fathers. My problem is that what will happen to my kids should I die today? Where will they stay because l do not have a place called home?
My wish is to get a place of my own for me and my children. What pains most that l now no longer know where l come from.
Thembi Ngulube writes from South Africa. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service, which offers fresh news on every day news.

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