My name is Nyasha. I grew up with a polygon family lifestyle – my father has five wives and thirteen children. He was in an accident and it caused him to struggle and he retired because he was too injured to continue working. Ever since then it has become difficult to live under the same roof with all of my father’s wives and children.
I have two biological siblings, one sister and one brother. My brother and sister were supposed to be united with me but they sided with my step-sisters and turned against me. My sister, Chipos, married and has triplets who are all girls. I offer to help with her daughters but she is never satisfied with my help. When she throws a party, she invites my step-sisters and step-brothers but she does not bother inviting me or my children. She only acknowledges my daughter when she needs her to babysit her children.
I fell sick due to liver damages and I could no longer take care of myself the way I used to. I asked my sister to help me but she would not, she treated me as if I was nothing. When I would vomit on my clothes and was too weak to clean it, she would not clean it. She would not offer to wash my children or cook for them. I had to do it by myself, I could not let my children clean my mess, they were only six and twelve years old. Because of how she treated me, I no longer visited Chippo.
I am proud of my daughter. She is a brave young woman. I left them to seek work in South Africa when she was only nine years old. She knows how to clean and take care of the house and her brother when I am away. I also had to ask my daughter to help me during the time of my illness. She would always be there to help although she was so young.
My brother Tongai is also married. He helps me from time to time, but mostly he acts as though I do not exist, especially in the desperate times of my life when I needed help the most. My brother only spoke to me when he needed something from me. I was a hawker so I would buy items in South Africa and sell them in Zimbabwe, my hometown.
My father’s house was a disaster when I was sick. My step-brothers and sisters did not want me near them. I would stay in my room. I knew the family members not only rejected me but also my children.
They would gossip about me while I am there and they would say I am a dead woman. My children would tell me but I would respond by saying, “You can never be accepted in this world, people hate good and good people.”
My children listened to my words and now whenever they hear the family speaking bad about me they would pay no attention to it.
I miss the days when I only stayed with my father alone. Now my whole family is merging from the village because of the homes my father built for them. My step-mother only likes it when I buy groceries but what she did when she cooked, was horrible. She would give me the smallest portion. She would let me and my children eat dinner from enamel plates and the visitors got the best. My children would often complain about eating in the plates, they would ask me why they had to eat in it.
I would say, “Life is never easy, we need to pray and do well at school so that our enemies will be put to shame and not us.”
My children always took my words to heart.
I would text my step-mother and step-sister when my children would stay with them and they wouldn’t respond even when I asked how my children were doing. My sister would never ask to have my children visit. I shouldn’t complain because talking is not in my blood. I am a quiet person. You can say a lot of things to me, bad things, but it would come in the right ear and go out the left ear.
Even when I know they don’t like me I would act as if I don’t know what’s going on. I would act as if I don’t care and show them love instead of hatred even when I am being ignored.
I feel like this behaviour in my family has somehow affected my son because he gets sick sometimes. When I am home I show my children love without limitations. They are my special gifts. Being divorced at a young age, I had no option but to go back to my father’s house. Home is supposed to be the one place you always feel welcome, but not in my case. It is the one place I do not want to be in. But I have no other choice.
I used to cry a lot in church. I would ask God why He couldn’t just give me a family that loves me. Why couldn’t I find a suitable husband that will love me and my children?
One day my pastor noticed how depressed I was. We had a talk and I began to realise that people won’t accept you if they don’t want you to reach your destiny. If you are a child of God, family will hate you more than strangers.
I wonder how the world would be if there weren’t strong people like me in it. Because that’s what they’ve done, they’ve only made me stronger.
When your family rejects you, you must be strong. Be a role model to your children.
Tell us what you think: Why do you think family is not as united as it used to be in the old days?