- Woman relives heartache with Kenyan husband who stole their 8- year- old child
A turbulent 12 years of marriage to an abusive foreign husband has left a Motswana woman shattered, broke, emotionally scarred and desperate for help.
When Gotshega Makhumula of Dovedale said her vows to stay married to Wilfred Osoro Oroo of Kenya for better or for worse in 1998, she had no idea what kind of untold suffering awaited her.
A short six years down the marriage lane, in 2004, happy times have ended and love from her husband was replaced by intense hatred and abuse for 44 -year- Makhumula and her two children from a previous relationship.
Fast forward to 2011 and Makumula is divorced, broke and entangled in a long and complicated legal battle for her 8- year- old daughter, to be returned from Kenya where she is being held hostage by her father’s family.
Makhumula’s heart wrenching story of abuse came to the fore in her testimony about the good work that Emang Basadi, a women’s NGO has done for her in the fight to bring her child home.
Struggling to contain herself, the emotionally battered woman told her audience how she was lured to Kenya after years of physical abuse in Botswana to be beaten some more and have her last born daughter taken away from her, by her estranged husband and his family.
“He found me with two children and we had the third child. We also started a company together. I had a job and made a significant financial contribution from my salary to the company. In 2004, when we started making a bit of profit from the company, my husband turned against me and the marriage became a serious challenge. We started having numerous misunderstandings because he didn’t stay at home much and the love I was used to when we were still poor, vanished.”
As the family fortunes improved, Makhumula’s husband forged her signature and signed her shares off to himself.
“That was a shocking discovery, but I wanted so badly to believe that things would eventually improve so I stayed in the marriage even though I was constantly being beaten. He then suggested we visit Kenya and I was excited to visit my in-laws for the first time. We went in our new Mercedes Benz and everybody seemed thrilled that I had come to see them. There were even talks of organising a traditional ceremony of lobola.”
When time came for the couple to return home, Makhumula discovered that despite the apparent excitement to see her, a nasty plot that was to haunt her for the rest of her life had been weaved by her husband and his family against her.
“I didn’t read much into secret meetings they were holding until the whole plot exploded into my face and I found out they planned to keep my daughter and chase me away with nothing. But that was not before he had demanded that I ask my sister to send US$700, which she did. When I asked him where the money was, instead of answering my question, he beat me up me until I didn’t know who I was.”
Tears streaming down her face, the distraught mother told of how she was eventually thrown out by her husband who told her to her shock and horror that his daughter was not a Motswana and she was therefore not going to return to a “poor country without culture, proper education and without law and order.”
The following day she was beaten again until she was naked and told she could go wherever she wanted, but without the child whose passport was confiscated.
“He threw my passport at me and waved a blue piece of paper before me and boasted that it was proof that the child was not mine and that I had nothing to do with the child.”
Bruised, battered, humiliated and broke, Makhumula hitch hiked back to Botswana through Malawi and ended up in Livingstone, Zambia.
“In Zambia, I saw a vehicle with Botswana registration and I prayed that it would not go far.” Her prayer was answered as the car drove into a nearby lodge. Though the receptionist was difficult the security guard took her from room to room until to her relief a Motswana man answered the door.
“I saw Mr Thite of Tlokweng whom I recognised immediately and I fell down with relief. After hearing my story Thite paid for my accommodation and took me to the chemist where he bought me some pain medication.”
The following day the good Samaritan paid for her bus fare to Gaborone and eventually reported the husband to the police.
“The case was brought before the customary court and he was summoned. When the case got complicated and I needed support, Emang Basadi came to the rescue and less than a week ago and she was granted divorce.
Meanwhile the battle to bring back the daughter, who has been reported to be out of school and uncared for, continues as Makhumulu waits for the matter to come to court on August 25.. “My daughter was removed from school and some lady without kids took her in as my husband abandoned her when he went to look for school fees in the UK sometime ago.” said the woman who last saw her daughter when she was four years of age in 2006. “If Emang Basadi had money, my child would be here,” she lamented
Cash strapped Emang Basadi might not be able to bring Makhumulu’s daughter back unless somebody helps them. The organisation President, Ida Mokereitane, explained that they have 31 outstanding cases, which might end up being thrown out by the courts because of delays caused by lack of funds.
If you would like to help Makhumula get her daughter back and also help other women in the same position please contact Emang Basadi at: 3911421 or 72172834.