A 30-year-old woman from Mochudi on Wednesday stood before court demanding that her boyfriend pays her P16 000 or eight head of cattle for breaking a marriage promise.
Telling her story to Kgosi John Pone of Mochudi Kgotla, Lemme Phaphasela Ramatlhakolane said she met Kebabonye Setlhaga, 37, the father of her six children in January 1997 and had their first child by the end of that year.
According to the jilted woman things seemed rosy until the birth of their last two children, a set of twins, in September last year.
She said soon after the birth Setlhaga disappeared and when they eventually spoke after some months he told her he had found another woman and was no longer interested in marrying her.
Ramatlhakolane said she realised Setlhaga’s change of mind was real when she paid him a visit in Khutshe where he was on a working trip and found him living with another woman.
“He looked me in the face and told me she was the woman he intended to marry. When I came back to Mochudi my parents contacted his parents about our problems, and got a rude shock when they were told Setlhaga had indeed found another woman.” She pointed out that her former boyfriend’s actions had left her with no alternative but to sue him for spoiling her matrimonial dreams.
However Setlhaga denied deserting the mother of his children saying that she had chased him away.
“She told me she no longer wanted me. You cannot expect me to marry a woman who is no longer interested in me,” he said, dismissing Ramatlhakolane’s allegations of a third party souring their relationship.
In his ruling Kgosi Pone said: “In Setswana culture when Patlo (the asking of the bride’s hand in marriage) has not been done, there is no promise of marriage.
“I will advise you to take this matter to the magistrate’s court and sue this man for maintenance so he can help you support the children. Children need to be looked after by both parents and I think the magistrate’s court can help in this regard. The customary court has no power to rule on matters of child maintenance,” he said.