Just one year after completing primary school education in her village of Rondo Mnara in Lindi, Rose Wangabo (39) was forced into a marriage with a man who at the time was a teacher but has since retired. At the time of their “wedding” this man was old enough to be her father. Before settling on marrying him, her mother often threatened her with expulsion from home and a curse if she turned him down. Rose says that because of the respect she had for her mother she was left with no alternative but to succumb to the pressure.
“Marrying a public servant is considered a golden opportunity out here. I had to give in to pressure however out of the 19 years of marriage with that man I only lived happily of three of them. I felt of no value, I was treated horribly; he let other women into our home and allowed them access to anything they wanted. They went so far as to harvest from my own crop field that I toiled in with- out even asking me. The final nail to the coffin was when he decided to marry a second wife and kept me in the dark about it”, says Rose sadly.
Rose, who is childless, was forced to endure this treatment because her mother depended on her. She says her former husband secretly took out his pension and she only knew about it from other people and that’s when she sensed that she was on course to lose out on any rights. Gripped by this fear, she proceeded to file a claim at the primary court which later ordered him to build her a house after asking her what she wanted as settlement.
However, things took a turn for the worse after one of her husband’s children took a knife and attempted to stab her with the intent to kill her for staking a claim on what he considered property she had no share in.
In 2018 she was divorced unexpectedly and was told by her husband that she will not be getting anything, that she had to leave that same night because after all the house he had been ordered to build for her was already completed. That’s when left in the dead of night empty-handed not knowing where she would spend the night, what she would sleep on, cook with or even eat! She effectively was left penniless.