Sarah Takawira is a twin born in a family of six. Although she hails from Chipinge, a small town in Zimbabwe, she now resides in Harare, the capital city. After failing her O Levels, her father told her that she would not be repeating her studies. Instead, she would have to wait to get married.
Fortunately, her older sister got a job in Harare, and Sarah relocated to the capital. She completed a hairdressing course, not because she was interested in the profession, but out of the need to work. While she was working at one of the hair salons in town, one of her friends, who was a model, encouraged her to join a modelling agency since she was tall and slender.
Sarah narrated her story to The Weight She Carries.
My interest was piqued because I had always desired to be an artist one way or the other because that is where my heart had always been. I joined my friend’s agency, and to my surprise, I excelled and won a number of pageants, including Miss Colleges 2007, Miss Mutare as well as Miss Harare. Due to the success that I had attained thus far, I made a decision to relocate to South Africa.
Inasmuch as I was excelling even in South Africa, my heart kept being pulled to do the work of God, and so I came back home. As to be expected, returning home was difficult because of unemployment. With the little money I had saved up, I embarked on a poultry project and at the same time decided to take myself back to school. I passed my supplemented subjects and proceeded to do a diploma and even proceeded to university and graduated in 2016.
All the while, I had made headway in the acting industry, which had become my chosen career. During my very first audition, I was told upfront that I was not an actor, but I was determined to prove them wrong.
[In] 2011, I landed my first role in a short film called “Like Him.” A number of productions then followed namely “kuChina” [and] “Diaspora,” just to name a few which have aired on the national broadcaster ZBC.
Criticism came from everywhere. Fellow church members chastised me for acting because I portray different characters, but I pressed on.
In 2017, I met my husband, a prophet who ran his own ministry. To be honest, the red flags [were apparent] in the very first week of dating. A simple ‘hi’ in my messenger caused him to shatter my phone to pieces. Inasmuch as it affected me, I mistook that behaviour for love.
We quickly got married, and that is when the abuse really began. My phone was his phone, and he would even send derogatory messages using my phone to my family and friends just to incite them into negative responses that he would use against me.
The beating began very early on. I was mostly beaten to a point of unconsciousness. He would wait for me to regain consciousness and continue beating me.
I was banned from ever leaving the house, so that meant there was no school and work. Requesting money for food was a nightmare because it would drive him crazy.
His words hurt the most. I recall a time when he brought a photo of his girlfriend and told me how beautiful she was and how I would never measure up to her. Tears were my sleeping potion. Every single day, he would find something hurtful to say and hurl it at me. Hopeless, useless and jobless were the words he would always use.
The ultimate were the death threats. I remember times when I would wake up in the middle of the night to find him staring at me with a weapon in his hand. I would jump off the bed and plead for my life. I also recall a time when I hugged my male cousin at church, and he happened to see it. I was beaten for over three hours till I bled and passed out.
Despite all this, I stayed. I put on a facade of a happy marriage in front of the congregation, but I was just broken. It was a life of lies and deceit. The children would shiver when they knew their father was home.
Finally, I made a decision to leave because I knew that one day, I was going to die. Being the abuser that he was, he followed me just to fight with me and my family. He wrecked my car and even my family’s furniture.
My confidence at this point was non-existent. His words haunted me. I was a mess.
The healing process has been a painful journey. What really helped was me actually talking about what had transpired. As I gained courage, I reported the case to the police, and to my surprise, a lot of individuals came through to help me. Women’s lawyers, counsellors and pastors came together to stand by me, which really lifted me up.
I picked up the pieces bit by bit, as difficult as it was. I went back to film and continued with Bible school. Rebuilding my confidence was the hardest, but I learnt to mirror talk, a process whereby one looks into the mirror and speaks positive words into their lives. In no time, I realised that there was life to be lived after all!
Marriage is meant to be sweet, not a place of abuse. If you are in an abusive relationship, speak out, scream until someone hears you, seek help. And even if you have found the courage to walk out like I did, take back your power because you are special. With all your scars, physical and emotional, someone out there who is meant for you will love you. As soon as the red flags show up, flee. Rather, be in a place where you are self-sufficient and confident.
Forgiving him was very important for my mental and emotional well-being. That way, I knew that he had no hold over my life anymore.
Focus on the people that respect, encourage and inspire you. I had stopped dreaming, but since I broke free, I am able to dream again.
Sarah has since found love again. Her career as an actress keeps her busy as well as her business. Additionally, she is now a pastor.