My name is Rumbidzai Patience Magaya, a mother of three turning 35 years [old] in November. I went through divorce early 2019, and I was a housewife then. When I was married, I discovered that my ex-husband was living a double life. When I say double life, I mean he had secretly married another lady without my knowledge. Some relatives knew about it, but I was in darkness.
The day I learned that he had secretly married another woman, I walked out of the marriage and went back to my parents. I got so sick because of depression and stress, so I went to the hospital when I nearly fainted. They did some blood tests, and that is when I found out that I was like 14 weeks pregnant. It was the worst day of my life.
Imagine when you have walked out of the marriage because it was not working, with two children already going to school then I am pregnant again! It was so much to bargain for me. I remember telling my mother that I wanted to terminate the pregnancy. I did not want the child, but then due to family support and advice, I kept the pregnancy.
I had made up my mind that I wanted nothing to do with the marriage anymore. Some people advised me to work out my marriage. I really knew that I was living a toxic life, and it was full of emotional abuse. I was done with the marriage.
I would think of how I was going to provide for these kids, three kids now. Then these thoughts of suicide kept coming, and the worst part was that I wanted to take my life and my children’s because I thought that no one will look after my kids well. I was stressed every day and every night because I had no peace.
My now ex-husband would come home late and sometimes not come home at all. We would fight in front of my children, and it would destroy my children emotionally. My firstborn’s teacher at some point called me to ask what was happening at home because my child could not participate at school and [felt] so distant in class. The teacher thought she was abused, and indeed, it was emotional abuse for my girl to see her parents fight always.
I recall when I was processing the divorce papers, I was so stressed and could not sleep for three days. I had depression, so I was put on depression medication and was given sleeping tablets for a month so that my sleeping pattern would normalize. It helped me a lot because I now had headaches, and not sleeping was so exhausting to my system.
I got through with this pregnancy and divorce because of the support from my family. They stood by me, and I even surrounded myself with women who were going through different situations. I would even read stories of other divorcees, and I was uplifted because I realized that I was not the only one in this situation.
When I went back home, it was very difficult because my parents would ask me what I was planning on doing since I had children to take care of, and I was so blank. I did not know what to do with myself, and I had no money [on] me. They gave me US$150 to see what I was going to do with it.
I used the money to order baby diapers. I created the brand Mummy and Baby Neo’s Cast. I sold baby products, toys and a wide range of baby products. The first point…was that let me sell the things that my children desire. Then I started to sell repacked diapers. I got so popular on Facebook, and people started looking for me for those diapers because they were cheap and original.
So while I was selling diapers, I learned to make baby diaper organizers. These are diaper cases that I make as a baby gift. So while I was doing that, there is certain Botswanan lady who contacted me on Facebook, and she wanted to do business with me by introducing black dolls. Soon after lockdown, the lady came to Zimbabwe and asked me to do business with her. She was in [the] business of making black dolls. She gave me a box with 18 black dolls, and people started laughing at me, saying I was now out of ideas selling dolls. To my surprise, the dolls did not even last for two days; they were already finished!
So I opened my shop last year in October. It’s now one year, and I am located at the Avenues in Harare, Zimbabwe. I aimed to cater for my children and seek God. I advertise a lot on Facebook, and people refer each other. Networking is the other thing that helps me to get known because if I go on a network outing where ladies meet, usually I showcase my products. I take my table, I advertise, I display my stuff. Even if they don’t buy on that day, they will remember me because of the beautiful presentation.
In the process of rebuilding my life, I learnt that when a marriage is toxic, you need to walk away. Imagine I had suicidal thoughts just because of my marriage which was so toxic and knew no peace. If I had killed myself, it would destroy my family members. I regret having the thought of aborting the child, the thought of killing myself and my children. I am now happy and have regained my confidence such that some women look up to me and even come for advice.
The challenges I faced due to divorce is in the society we live in, people judge. They think that when a woman walks out of a failed marriage, they feel like you are loose, and you are the one who had a problem in the marriage. What they do not know is I saved myself. I did it for my happiness and for my children.
People say it is normal for a man to cheat, and you as the woman have to embrace it, but they don’t know that it destroys you emotionally if you do.
I even lost some friends because they now saw me as a threat to their marriages. They thought that I wanted to steal their husbands each time they [saw] me dressed up, and these are the things I keep facing up to know. People think that when you are a divorcee and you look good, your intention is to lure their men, yet it is not even that. I will be looking good for myself and to feel good about who I am.
I hate divorce, and I do not wish it on anyone because it affects children more. But I would like to advice women in toxic, abusive relationships and marriages to walk out whilst they are still sane because they might lose themselves holding on to a marriage which has no life.