By Melissa Chekwa
Rejoice Ncube (19) is pregnant. She recently left school and has no immediate plans of getting married. When she discovered that she was three months pregnant, she says she knew that her time under her parents’ roof was over.
“In our culture, when a girls falls pregnant, she is considered to be a married woman no matter what her age is. When my mother got to know that I was pregnant, she said her house could not host two women and that I was supposed to be thrown out of the house and go to my husband,” says Rejoice.
Rejoice says she wished her parents could handle her case differently. She says she was prepared to be beaten up as punishment and remain with her parents. She says she was not prepared at that time to move out and stay with complete strangers.
“My parents were so mad when they found out that I was pregnant. My mother said some hurtful words such as that I was promiscuous. My dad was shuttered and could not say much about it. Everyone was upset because they had all considered me to be a child all along. Now that I was pregnant, they were all disappointed,” says Rejoice.
Rejoice says before she was thrown out, she received a thorough beating from her mother. After the beating, she was told to pack all her clothes and go to her husband.
“I was afraid to go there alone and it was also a bit late. I decided to go to my mother’s friend nearby. The following day she took me to my boyfriend’s workplace. Later that day my aunt and my mother’s friend took me to my boyfriend’s parents,” says Rejoice.
The reception she got at her in-laws was warm and Rejoice says she is grateful that they did not ill-treat her.
“My in-laws were happy that their son was getting married and was settling down. My boyfriend was also happy that I had come. However, I still felt uncomfortable. I knew that my parents were still not happy. I also regretted the marriage because it derailed my plans of getting to college.
The expecting mother was set to enroll at a local collage at the end of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) schools shutdown. Rejoice says all her plans could have worked well if she had remained at her parents’ home. She feels that getting married at an early age was traumatic for her because she had never received any advice on marriage from her mother of aunt. She says she was just used to getting all she wanted from her parents and the thought that she was now on her own terrified her.
Rejoice says what also worries her a lot is that her family is still bitter about what she did.
“I wish my parents had allowed me to stay on with them and not to force me out. Even until now we do not communicate a lot with my mother. I am hopeful that things may improve because she recently phoned me to find out how I was doing. It was a welcome relief after a long time without talking to her,” says Rejoice.
Rejoices feels that parents should support the girl child just as much as they support the boy child. She says when a girl gets pregnant she must be given choices of whether to go to her husband or continue with staying at home until she is ready to move out.