She Glows (single mothers support group)


There was need to confront the stigmatization in Africa that comes in several colors which are in religious, legal and social context. 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 maintainance courts. The processes are not favorable even for the children. Many end give up without any form of help afforded them. We actually need more women in power or rather a system that enforce and ensure child support by both parents.

Noone should walk away and ignore their responsibilities. Such should face the law! 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 stereotypes, deeming them women of loose morals. Verbal abuse, dirty jokes and also sexual favors expected from these female employees are some of the problems we are trying to confront in the society. Sexual denial leading to victimisation. It's a cruel world indeed!

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 and these are:

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

We have quite a number of events lined up for us. Our Single Mother's Outings have always been successful. They are established for the refreshment of the mind. After being a mum and a dad, rejuvenation is needed. Also, to join the Emotional Healing Class and for more information on our projects and calender of events,use the provided contact details below.

Mobirise

How I became a single mother

How I became a single mother.
I was a 21 year old professional lady living in the dusty streets of the ghetto when I met the man who was going to quickly become boyfriend, baby father, husband and ex husband all in a short space of time.
We courted like a typical young couple, with our highs and lows. We had just met really and there was little if any talk of marriage when I fell pregnant by my son. I notified my then boyfriend of our predicament and he only acknowledged but did not commit to anything. As a first born in a family of 4, all of us orphaned by this time.I did not necessarily feel the
pressure to get married. I initially stayed at our family home but as the pregnancy began to show, due to social pressure I asked my partner if he was going to marry me and he highlighted his desire, but was incapacitated as he was not gainfully employed.

I thought fast and gave him some money I had saved up so that he could start a cross boarder business and save money to come and marry. It happened, we were now Mr & Mrs expecting our child. I could say it all happened so fast, from lobola to being parents of an adorable baby
boy to having a white wedding. We must have been the envy of similarly young couples, as we were picture perfect always together despite the troubles brewing at home. From the beginning of the marriage there were
always grey areas around the number of ladies calling and texting and also around the issue of money in the home. These are issues I dared not discuss with anyone as i had been reminded constantly at church that a woman does not share her marital problems, she sucks them up
and endures, so I did.

It got so bad that at one time we were evicted at a place we were renting because we had not paid rent for the 3 months we had stayed there. This was a real shocker to me as I always made sure I gave him rent money to go and pay as he was the head of the house. I could not bear the outside world not knowing that he was not bringing food to the table so I covered up for him. The more I covered for him, the more he would forget to pick me up from work ,the more he would come back home in the early hours of the morning with no explanation as to his whereabouts. I remained the virtuous woman despite all that, opening the gate whatever time he returned home, warming up his food and preparing his bath.

They said that marriage was not going to be easy so I soldiered on. Deep down I was broken, so much bottled up pain as I could share my problems with anyone. I was now deteriorating weightwise, I was unhappy and
filled with so much regret. It took two separate instances to make me realise that this was not the happily ever after I always dreamt of. The first was the business deal gone wrong which made me see two gentleman burst into my place of work to demand my car as they had been promised as collateral by my husband in case their deal had gone wrong. I confidently told them that I was going to take out the car's registration book and if it had his names on it I would give them the keys. They were very disappointed to find out that this was not the case.

The second encounter was when I caught him red handed in bed with a woman he claimed was his cousin from Australia who had come for a wedding. I had followed a tip off and went to the hotel they were booked into and to my horror saw the worst confirmation of our relationship, yes indeed he was cheating on me. These two events happened in a space of a week and I confronted him after work that I was done and I wanted a divorce.
He arrogantly said I would have to kick him out of the house as he was not going to leave because of crimes that society has normalized that men are to be forgiven after they commit them. We lived in the same house no physical contact or communication for three months. Only to have him write a four paged letter explaining all that he had done and how he was moving to South Africa with another woman. I accepted this though with much pain in my heart as I hoped he was going to make an effort to change.
When he left my son was 1 year and 8months old. I was an 23 year old woman weighing 48kgs because I used to cry myself to sleep daily for the almost past 2 years.
I was hurt that my outwardly perfect marriage had not worked out as I would have wished, but I was relieved that I wouldn't have the burden of a financially irresponsible, promiscuous person in my life. My son is now 14 and I have raised him single handedly. The road has not been easy as a child
needs their father sometimes. Sadly for my boy he has had to make do without one. I work out of town and my son is a boarder and life can be challenging when he is sick or he needs me and I cannot be there soon enough. It is also hard to tackle some puberty issues with my teenage
boy without him quickly putting up a wall. Despite all this I continue to be the best mother I can be to him.

Being a single mother attracts all sorts of stigma from men or women in the workplace or in the communities, but I have vowed to show that a single mother should not be judged on marital status and some days I win some days i lose the battle. No matter what those obstacles bring, it will not deter me to being the best parent I can be to my boy. What I would say to women in toxic and abusive relationships is have the strength to seek the best for you and your kids. You will a be a better parent happier. No matter how society looks at

Mobirise

Debunking single motherhood

 Alice Tagwira (AT) has been on the forefront of fighting stigma against single motherhood through social media. She has stood up to chauvinists, stood ground on women’s independence, good principles and values. For years, she has been pushing for the view that single motherhood is nothing to be ashamed of or for people to shame, especially when one is coming from a bad relationship.For her, divorce may not be a good thing but, one’s life and greatness is better and great if well celebrated. Herald Lifestyle’s Kundai Marunya (KM) caught up with Alice Tagwira, a rising social media reality show host and below are experts from the interview.

KM: Are you at liberty to share the circumstances that led you to become a single mother?

AT: I am both a single mother and 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. Two days before the big day, I found out horrible secrets which he hid from me for the four months we dated.

The secrets were revealed to me by his blood brother and also through a diary which I discovered in his apartment.

Upon discovering all that, I regretted ever giving my body to him. I even wished I could just abort my pregnancy and run away with my life.

At that time I was already two weeks pregnant for him. His brother came and narrated everything in front of my family but my mum vowed to kill herself because she couldn’t stand the embarrassment if I did not get married to him.

My pastor on the other end called me a whore for wanting to quit. I then went on to wed against my will.

The wedding was fancy but I was bitter and unhappy. I didn’t want it.

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 said, “Since you wanted the wedding to be cancelled, I will gladly look for a woman who loves me”. That was the beginning of physical abuse and emotional torture.

Talk of infidelity, wow, It was top notch! Five women all at once.

Hungry nights and all. My most painful moments in that marriage was when he lied to my pastors and his parents that I was cheating on him and that I would infect him with HIV when I was super innocent.

When I stroked my left eye because of stress was the day when he brought in another lady in my house.

I was torn apart. Suicidal thoughts gripped me and I was ready to die but well, God intervened and here I am, a testimony and raising my six-year-old daughter.

He actually packed the furniture and left me to stay with one of his girlfriends.

I do not have regrets whatsoever because I survived the sexual tree which could lead to the transmission of HIV and STIs. I survived abused. I’m a survivor.

KM: I understand children will always need male role models, how have you been able to tackle that?

AT: It is a misconception that children will always need male role models, I believe children need positive and vibrant insightful role models.

It’s not about gender, but it is about the character of the role model that matter, the values and ethos.

Hard work, honest living, thriving for success is what I value in a role model and I would want my child to emulate that too.

I believe children are raised to recognise character not gender in a role model. Having said that, a child shouldn’t be deprived access and opportunity to learn from their biological responsible fathers should they be available.

KM: Many people depict single mothers as bitter beings, some not even capable of trusting again or formulating meaningful relationships, is there any truth in that?

AT: Any person who have been wronged, heartbroken, hurt, unfairly treated, manipulated, tricked, abused, and neglected among other things should in their normal capacity be allowed to be bitter.

Any person that has been cheated on,should be allowed to have trust issues, however,it is important to go through a healing process, that’s what makes single mothers overcome their fears and be able to trust and embrace again.

Once you are bitten by a snake you’re likely to be cautious and careful around snakes though it’s not every snake that is after biting you.

Trust is earned, generally most single mums have trust issues and it’s only normal considering the circumstances and experience, and I think it’s important; it’s a precaution and a defence mechanism to protect us from manipulation.

KM: Men often prey on single mothers, often thinking them as desperate for relationships/marriages and sex-starved. Is there any truth to this?

AT: Irresponsible men tend to prey on single mothers, but real men treat single mothers very well like any other women.

Single mums are not asking for preferential but equal treatment as any other women or human beings with no discrimination. It’s sad and unfortunate that irresponsible men prey or attempt to manipulate and prey on assumed vulnerable single mothers.

KM: When you review that you are a single mother, does it change people perceptions on you or possible suitors?

AT: Instead of seeing a strong woman, they see a loser, a failure, a promiscuous woman. I hate to explain myself to people. Being a single mother doesn’t mean you have to explain first to be understood. I remember a church brother who was rebuked because he had befriended me.

In most cases, society is not yet sufficiently educated to face this type of novelty without judgment. Among these, we find the issue of single mothers who, despite the evolution, are still stigmatised.

Religion itself discriminates single mothers quoting that marriage is the only legitimate framework of reproduction and for this reason they are labelled sinners.

I have been denied of positions and opportunities at church because I am a single mother and said to be unworthy. It’s hard out there.

KM: Should women be afraid to leave bad relationships in fear of being single mothers? Do you have advice for this group of women?

AT: My advice to married ladies is, there will be challenges, there will be good and bad times, there will be times when you will feel like quitting, times you would feel like you made a mistake but jumping out is not the only solution, I am not an advocate of divorce. But if it’s a toxic relationship characterised by abuse, violence, cheating and manipulation, it will be best to trust your gut and make the right decision for you, your health, your kids, and your progress.

There are so many fears that grip married women in toxic marriages. Some think divorce will harm their children when in actual fact it doesn’t. Divorce can teach your children value lessons to carry throughout life. It’s reasonable to fear that your spouse won’t remain involved with your children, however, if a father cares so little for his children that he would abandon them, is he of any value to them if you remain married? Some fear that they won’t make it on their own financially but I would advise that if you not working, find a job, if it’s not paying enough find a better one.

Go to school, discover your passion and pursue development. If you are in an abusive marriage and in danger of physical harm leave now. Fear of your physical well-being trumps financial fear.

Some stay because they can’t deal with loss of home or search for a new place to live. Better to be safe in a small apartment or a shack than a miserable environment.

Some fear what others would think about them but well you can’t live your life based on people’s opinions. Live for you! Everything starts with you! God gave everyone free will for a purpose.

Use it to better your life and your children’s. Fear of facing an uncertain future is also holding many at ransom. Look around you; the majority that went through a divorce and came out the other side happier and more excited about their futures. Some fear to be alone and marrying again. I would say, marriage is not meant for everyone. Some find peace in solitude. The world is full of people; engage them and be happy.

KM: There are some roles that may need to be played by men in one’s life, how do you cope with those?

AT: My motto is both women and men have female and male energy. I agree that by nature men and women differ in design, physical strength but that doesn’t qualify or disqualify women or men from specific roles. If a woman can be a soldier, I believe she can also be a mechanic, or she can change a tyre.

Activities can be learnt. Either I learn to do it myself or I improve my capacity.

KM: Any advice for single mothers?

AT: The best you can do for your child is to be committed, regulating your emotions and accepting your child’s emotions.

Also, keep your cup full so you can remain generous with them. Keep yourself healthy and centred so you can do double duty for them. Nobody can be everything, we all give our children what we can.

Stay positive, don’t feel guilty. Self-reliance is necessary in many situations but don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need support from others. Find your community and ask for help if you need it.

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Contacts

Email: info@zheeraassociation.org
tagwira25@gmail.com         
Phone: +263 77 701 2977                    

Networking

263 Chat
Single mother’s foundation
Young People’s Royal Oasis 

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