TWSC Submission: A Forced Marriage Didn’t Stop me from Becoming who I Wanted to be

My name is Alice Tagwira. I was raised in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. I hold a higher diploma in business administration and I’m still pursuing my education. I am a business owner, a social entrepreneur, philanthropist and feminist. My organization She Glows was officially registered in 2020.

My entire desire is to see young people and single mothers gain additional knowledge, life skills and attitudes that will further their development as productive members of society.

I am both a single mother and a single parent as a result of divorce. My relationship with my ex-husband was an arrangement by my pastors. I got married properly and had a fancy wedding, but two days before the big day, I got to find out about his horrible and terrifying secrets which he hid from me for the four months we dated. The secrets (which I cannot reveal) were revealed to us by his biological brother and also through a diary which I discovered in his apartment.

Upon discovering all that, I regretted ever giving my body to him, and I even wished if I could just abort and run away with my life before the wedding because I was already two weeks pregnant [by] him. By the way, he [met] me a virgin. His brother came and narrated everything to my family, but my mom vowed to kill herself had I quit because she couldn’t stand the embarrassment.

My pastor, on the other hand, called me a whore when I mentioned quitting. I then went on to wed against my will. The wedding was fancy, but I was so bitter and unhappy. I did not want it anymore; they forced me.

Soon after the wedding, I went to stay with my sister in Botswana then later came back to an angry man who blamed me for discovering his secrets. He told me that since I wanted the wedding to be cancelled, he would gladly look for a woman who loved him, and I had to stay to compensate for his money. That was the beginning of physical and verbal abuse and emotional torture. Talk of infidelity, it was on steroids – five women at once. [There were also] hungry nights, among other things.

My most painful moments in that marriage were when he lied to my pastors and his parents, [claiming] that I was cheating on him and that I would infect him with HIV when I was innocent. [I got a stroke in] my left eye because of stress. I remember the day when he brought another lady in my house. Suicidal thoughts gripped me, and I was so ready to die, but God intervened and I am a testimony. He actually packed the furniture and left me to stay with one of his girlfriends.

I do not have regrets because I survived the sexual tree which could lead to the transmission of HIV and STIs, and I survived abuse. (We were married for a year and four months.)

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Tell us about your organization She Glows.

It is a women- and youth-serving organization established to promote social change by giving them opportunities to improve their communities and the world at large through developing skills and confidence, creativity, enterprise and education. We strive to create a future where women and young people are key drivers in facilitating life-changing development initiatives within their communities.

There was need to confront the stigmatization in Africa that comes in several colours which are in religious, legal and social contexts. Single mothers deserve a strong support system that helps them in carrying out their double duty.  Religion believes marriage is the only legitimate framework for one to have children, and by this reason only, stigma is created.

On the legal side of view, women are not properly or fairly represented. You see single mothers struggling to find help from maintenance courts. The processes are not favourable even for the children. Many end up giving up without any form of help afforded to them.

We actually need more women in power – or rather, a system that enforces and ensures child support by both parents. No one should walk away and ignore their responsibilities. We have plenty of abandoned kids in the streets, and this is mainly as a result of irresponsible fathers. Our government, in particular, cannot afford facilities to take good care of these kids; at least it should impose tight measures on irresponsible fathers.

Also looking at the society, it deems women of loose morals. Verbal abuse, dirty jokes and also sexual favours are expected from female employees, and these are some of the problems we are trying to confront in the society.

There’s need to engage in programs that are designed to strengthen and engage single mothers in the primary focal areas of education and empowerment such as:

– scholarships
– employment
– parenting skills
– wealth-building
– health and wellness (mental, emotional, physical)
– self-sustaining entrepreneurship programs
– confidence-building

She Glows objectives:

– to provide a secure environment for the survivors and their children to undergo intensive
– counselling and gain skills that will empower them economically and emotionally
– to ensure that all women all over the world have information on women’s rights, gender-based violence, gender equality and child marriage
– to ensure that help is provided to those in need
– to foster personal development

Tell us about “Reality Chat with Alice Tagwira.”

It is an online TV show set up to tackle all of the issues affecting society. We also set up the platform mainly for constructive deliberations with regards to what transpires in our organizations. It serves as a channel to inform, entertain and educate.

What is your advice to other women?

I would like to advise women to never feel inferior and feel pity for themselves. You need to feel special for you, not for anyone else, and there is always a chance to become what you want.

6 Comments

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  1. 1
    Mary K

    So glad you survived such a toxic, abusive relationship and are committed to empowering women! Great words of advice as well, thank you Sis! <3

  2. 2
    Gloria Chidavaenzi

    Wow I’m inspired . Thank you for choosing to speak it had to heard . Destinies are waiting to be liberated . May you continue to be a Voice for this generation 🥰

  3. 3
    Lucia

    I m so proud to have met a strong woman like you Alice….. In you I have learnt a lot that I m not ashamed to say my role model is an amazing young woman like you.
    May God bless you for teaching us to fight and stand up for ourselves as young as we are👏 you are an. Inspiration to many

  4. 5
    Tatenda

    You are strong…. It took me 8years to leave an abusive marriage and here l am… Im proud of the woman l am today een though it took me 8years to realise l must leave.. Thank you Alice for sharing your story

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