I was only fourteen when my mother passed away, a freshman in high school. The death of my mother caused me a lot of pain to me as I was her only child and I had no siblings to lean on. My father and I had a strong connection because we only had one another, we stuck together and our bond became stronger. My father was self-employed and his business was going quite well.
When I turned fifteen my father re-married our maid. I call her Mama Sonia. Most people would think I’d be upset with having a step mother, but I was happy with her. She treated me as her very own and for that I loved her. After all, my father had to move on sometime too. Everything went well, or so I thought.
Things began to drastically change the moment she moved in with her three other daughters, Chantel, Happiness and Treasure. I was hated by her daughters it; was only the youngest one, Treasure who was not that mean because she was still very young. Life became a little harder because I would get teased by them daily, they would mock me on how I looked or spoke. I was always beaten and then they would even go out and enjoy themselves, completely disregarding my existence. I became a slave in my own parent’s house. All I did was show them love in return for their cruelty.
When my father went on a business trip, I became the laughing stock of the family. They openly mocked me and treated me as a slave even more now that my father was not around. I became depressed. I didn’t socialise with anyone nor did I concentrate on my school work and as a result, my marks dropped to the ground.
Not everything was dark and depressing. I had my sunshine, my smile, my boyfriend – Gift. And yes, he was my gift, a gift that made me smile again. We really loved each other but then I began to hate him because he took away the one pride I had left – my virginity.
Once when my father went on another business trip, I needed money to do something, I had to call him to ask him for the money. He transferred the money to Mama Sofia’s account. I waited for the money patiently, my father called me to ask if I got the money and that he had already transferred it.
I was confused and shocked. I did not ask Mama Sonia, because I trusted her and knew that she would tell me about the money. But to my surprise she spent all the money that was supposed to be mine and went shopping with her daughters in town. I was furious and shocked.
When they got home I asked them what happened to my money and Mama Sofia beat the living hell out of me, while her daughters did nothing. Treasure cried when she saw how I was being beaten, the only one who still had a heart but she couldn’t do anything about it. She was only a child. That night, as broken and bruised as I was, I had had enough. I packed my bags and went to my boyfriend. His family welcomed me with open arms.
A month passed and I fell pregnant. My father did not want to hear any explanations. He told me to stay at Gift’s house and not come home because I was a disgrace to the family. Months passed and I gave birth to a boy. My father heard about the birth of my son and told me to come back home. I did as I was told and two days after coming back home, my young child died. After that my father had a heart attack and stayed in hospital for almost two months. He later died at the Letaba hospital.
My world was torn. First my child was taken from me and now my father.
I felt broken and lost as if there was a deep emptiness inside of me that no one could possibly fill. I was crushed. Two weeks after his death my stepmother kicked me out of the house. She told me that nothing was left for me there and I had to go and stay with my aunty and her son Karabo at Mafarana. They welcomed me into their home, for the first time I felt loved again.
Three weeks later I received a call from my step mother. She wanted me to come back home to Nwamitwa. I absolutely refused. She begged me saying that the lawyers needed to read my father’s will and they cannot do that without me. I eventually agreed, even though I never wanted to see those people again.
My cousin and I took the taxi down on Monday, everyone was already there waiting for me. The lawyer started reading the will and it stated that all my father’s assets belonged to me and once I turned twenty-one I could have full access to it. Everyone was stunned and my stepmother was furious, she claimed the will to be a fake. Her claim was denied, the will was clearly legit and it was what my father wanted.
I placed my aunty in charge of my father’s business and she ran it well. We were finally kissing the curse of poverty goodbye. It was the end of my sorrow and the beginning of my joy. I realised just how loved I truly was by my father and I’m thankful that he remembered me in all that he did. The bond was always strong, no matter the hurdles we faced.
My stepmother begged for me to come back and stay with her at Nwamitwa and I refused because I hated her. By that time the only person I cared about was Treasure; she always had love for me. I took all my father’s car keys and gave them to aunty and she owned everything. I suffered and endured a lot; the wound will never heal but gone are those sorrowful days and so begins the journey of my life.
Tell us what you think: Why do you think families turn on each other like the stepmother did when her kids moved in?