Columns 8.11.2018 09:30 am

The woes of scorned widows

HHP's widow, Lerato Sengadi. Picture: ANA

HHP's widow, Lerato Sengadi. Picture: ANA

We have failed dismally to hold to account in-laws who treat our mothers, sisters and daughters as dispensable commodities.

If anything, the untimely death of musician HHP shines a light on the need for women who are in marriages, customary or otherwise, to familiarise themselves with the laws that govern marriages in South Africa, especially customary ones.

When a husband dies, a woman has to rush off to prove her legitimacy as the deceased’s life partner.

It is sad that a life well-lived with a significant other can be reduced to nothing but a “he-said-she-said” when it comes to proving a union.

While we may never know the full reason for the obvious feud that exists between the Tsambo family and Ms Sengadi, the tension that we have had to witness suggests that love does not live here.

It is nothing more than a micro-introspection of the difficulties women face when the casket has been lowered and the burial rites read.

While the deceased may be resting in peace, for those that remain, especially the former partner, the struggle has only just begun.

As a society, we have failed to protect women throughout the years.

We have failed dismally to hold to account in-laws who treat our mothers, sisters and daughters as dispensable commodities.

When a husband comes to the bridal home, he is treated with nothing but respect, considered to be a son from another mother.

Our mothers would truly weep if they only knew under what hardships their daughters have to survive each family gathering, funeral or just the hope and longing of acceptance into a family that bore a son that opted to love her.

For any woman who chooses to marry a man who is considered to be a breadwinner, they are reduced to nothing but an extension of his capabilities.

There is never a consideration that, perhaps, hard work and sacrifice would allow the woman to flourish in her own right.

Why should our accomplishments be reduced to who we marry instead of what we are capable of?

If only we were treated more like daughters than dispensable pawns.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo.

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