Constance van Niekerk
Ndogarira vana vangu (I will stay for the sake of my children). It is saddening just how many women and men use this excuse their whole lives just to hold on to a dead and loveless relationship or marriage. Day in and day out women are abused and never report to the authorities because they think, “How will I live if my husband is sent to prison? What about my children?”
A lot of men are held at ransom all because of children. “If you don’t do this or that you will never see your children again.” “If you dare leave you will never see your children again.” If you don’t give me the money I will leave and take your children, you will never see them again.” On and on the jaded litany of threats goes on, ad infinitum!
Are these kinds of marriages really in the best interest of the children? What kind of life are we giving these children if they grow up with an abusive father or mother? Don’t children deserve to live in a happy home? The environment in some of these marriages is so vile and destructive to the children that it is better to take the children as far away from it as possible. Children from such circumstances generally grow up with no self–esteem and more often than not also become abusive partners in time.
Our mothers and their mothers before them were strong believers of the Ndogarira vana vangu syndrome. Nay, one might even say they were willing victims of it. Some never lived their lives in abundance. Others lived the life of prisoners, never once being able to pursue their dreams. Many died and are still dying from causes not unrelated to their abusive and even tyrannical partners. None of them were happy. None of them were loved. Yet all of them were beautiful women who willfully clipped their own wings in a self-deriding action quite akin to self-flagellation. All that and more for the sake of the children! The question left lingering on our lips is about the cemetery of buried dreams and all the unhappy hearts who never knew how it is to be loved; wretched souls who never felt the sensation of love while in the firm embrace of a loved one.
Is the sacrifice necessary?