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MARRIAGE OF HELL

Yvonne Mooka

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Kesolofetse Njirayafa knows the pain of being stuck in a loveless marriage. She has been there before and now using her experience to encourage other women to leave before the worst happens.

The 47-year old Journalism lecturer at Limkokwing University is not shy to speak about her past marriage that nearly took her to the grave prematurely. Like other women, Njirayafa was happy when she met her prince charming at church. She was 27 and he was 33. “I was naive. He was my first boyfriend,” she tells The Midweek Sun. She is quick to state that the red-flags were there before they got married.

“He liked money so much and he would always borrow money from me that he never even returned. I was earning more than him. He worked in a bank and would force me to get bank loans saying he was going to clear his loans. And he’d always assure me that he was going to marry me,” she says. She also says that the man was controlling. “Before we got married, we were attending different churches. Their services finished before ours. He’d force me to leave mine early to meet him. I was never allowed to have friends with the reason that they’d find boyfriends for me,” she says, adding that she however went ahead and got married to him.

“He pointed my father’s gun at me”
Njirayafa, says that her marriage of three years was doomed from the start. Her husband, she says, would tell her that she should not dress elegantly because ‘married women should only look good for their husbands.’ Going against this instruction would lead to beatings. But again she says she was always reminded of how inadequate and ugly she was. She says that she was once beaten for refusing to take a mortgage loan. “He wanted me to register the house in his name, although I would be the one paying instalments. I refused and that didn’t sit well with him,” she says.

She recalls one day when they had visited her parents at Motokwe. Njirayafa says that she had trained herself to act a beautiful marriage, faking smiles in front of people, especially her family. When they arrived, her father, a hunter, shared with them that he was having issues with the gun license. Her ex-husband took it, assuring him that he was going to renew its payment. When they got back to Gaborone, he did exactly that. “We were given a new license and that now meant we could also buy new bullets and take it back to my father. I thought it was a good gesture from a son in law,” she says.

Then one day, she says, the man stormed in and accused her of cheating on him. It was at night. He took her to the outskirts of Gabane where he had intended to kill her. “He pointed the gun at me and told me it was the end of me. Fortunately, he had never used one before, therefore he didn’t know how to pull the trigger. I saw him insert the bullets but failed to fire them at me, which made him even more angry,” she says.

They would drive back to Gaborone. But first they stopped by a filling station where he got off the car, saying he was buying something. It was then that Njirayafa screamed for help, whereupon the petrol attendants blocked the car and called the police after hearing her story. He was arrested and locked in for two weeks. “After coming out of jail, we had a meeting with our elders and they reconciled us. However, the abuse didn’t stop,” she says. She says that she at one point ran to Botswana Gender Based Violence Prevention and Support Centre (formerly, Kagisano Women’s Shelter). Her ex-husband, she says, went to the police to say he was sorry.

But still the abuse did not stop. As Christians, they had had several meetings with pastors who emphasised that ‘God hated divorce.’ As fate would have it, her ex-husband would one day go and report to an older pastor that she was having an affair. “He called us together with our other pastors. They heard our story and even when the other pastors emphasised that we should reconcile, the older man of God said that God also hates murder.

He also said my ex-husband was delusional as he could not give them evidence that I was cheating,” she says, adding that it was that same day that she went to court to apply for divorce. “It was another experience as he’d call me a bit** in front of lawyers. One of my lawyers even had a physical fight with him and beat him hard,” she says.
Njirayafa, who has since remarried, says that she stayed in an abusive marriage because she was afraid of the stigma attached to divorce. She says that she thought her ex-husband would change, something that never happened.

“I had lost myself in that marriage. It was a scam of a marriage. He was an opportunist who was also controlling and abusive in every sense of the word,” she says, urging women to leave abusive marriages. After her divorce came another life of heavy drinking and she stopped going to church. It was until she met her second husband that she got to taste the sweetness of marriage.

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FREE AT LAST: LGBTI persons celebrate

Yvonne Mooka

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CELEBRATION TIME: The LGBT community celebrated the historic ruling on same sex romance this Tuesday

Thapelo Matshameko, a transgender woman who last year was attacked at Trekkers night club in Gaborone is over the moon about the High Court ruling that overturned a law that criminalised same sex relations.

A trans-woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth. In response to the ruling, she told The Midweek Sun that even though she has had it tough before with people calling her ‘Brazen’ and to stop behaving like a woman, she is now happy that the law recognises that they exist. She said that Batswana are now becoming tolerant towards Lesbians Gays Bisexual Transgender and Intersex persons.

“Recently I went out for dinner with my bae, and I came all the way from my house wearing a dress. People that know me loved it and my boyfriend loved it even more,” she says, adding that the verdict will also help other LGBTI persons that are in the closet to come out.

In a previous interview Metshameko pleaded for assistance from members of the public to help her do a surgery that would make her a complete woman. For Motswakgakala Sithole also known as Motswafere in music circles, the ruling shows that Botswana is one step closer to gay marriages.

“Thank you to all the visible gay people. We take punches for those hiding and those shaming us for being visible and exercising our rights. You guys attended court cases with pride and you have carried us to freedom,” he said.

He also thanked Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), lawyers in the case, the media, and friends of the LGBTI community for their support. Phio Kenosi who identifies as trans non-binary asexual woma-romantic, (romantically attracted to the feminine essence), was also ecstatic.

“It is obviously showing that we are moving in a new direction that is positive and inclusive towards sexual and gender minority,” he said.

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Wame – a little einstein in the making

Irene Shone

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LITTLE EISTEIN: Wame Kangumbe

Wame Petit Kangumbe, 12, is an Optometrist in the making.

Kangumbe envisions taking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to the next level by inventing something scientific in the future.The standard 7 pupil at Ratsie Setlhako Primary School in Palapye impressed everyone during the BIUST 5th STEM Festival and Research and Innovation Symposium with her sharp answers during the fest.

The little Scientist believes that the entire country should embrace science and do more experiments, to find out more about our physical environment and shed dependency on foreign countries in terms of Science and Engineering.

Her secret to relating with different topics so well, is research and more research. “I like researching. We have Wi-Fi at home, and so I often use my mother’s phone to type different topics and interact with how everything is related. I always prepare for the next lesson through researching,” she said.

She said the poverty in Africa can only be eliminated through STEM. “If everyone could take interest in STEM, we would go further in terms of uplifting the status of our economies as African countries,” she said.

She urged her peers to believe in themselves and be serious about their education. “When you write down your notes in class, make an application of what you want out of them. Everyone’s life is in their own hands,” she advised.

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