Couples, 60 years or so, may, outwardly, be assumed to lead lives free of violence on account of the years they have been on this earth, coupled by the accompanying experience.
Whereas it may be true with most of them, if one had opportunity to interrogate past lives of such partners, one would be surprised to wonder why they are still together under the same roof.
For example, Nanzia, (92), who lives at Chongweni location, Andrea Shogholo, says if it wasn’t her restraint, she would already have separated with her husband.
“When we were still young couples, we frequently fought over trivial things,’ narrates Nanzia, the village’s oldest woman.
She said “my husband was a renowned boozer who would never skip a day without drinking,” adding that in most cases whenever he came back home, he picked a quarrel and we fought.
“At times, when I found the battle was too much, I ran to look for refuge at the native location leader who would call my husband the following day to resolve the matter,” explained the old woman.
During those days, when chiefdom was reining, such leaders role, wachili , was to judge disputes and when domestic violence was so much in a household, and the woman felt insecure sleeping in the house with the husband, mchili was the custodian of the women folk until the next day.
“In a nutshell, we (women) exercised a lot of restraint living with such bull-like husbands. Very few ran to their parents. After all, the parents would not easily accept us back.”
But today, life has really changed. Incidents of divorce are cropping up as days pass by, not only in towns but also in villages.
Whereas some people in society, including human rights activists, blame parents for failure to bring up their children in upright morals, others deny the accusation.
“It is not right to blame parents because even children who were brought up by morally upright parents misbehave, some of them even becoming drug addicts,” said Hoza Shemkai, a city resident.
It is unfortunate that some legally married couples no longer seem to take their marriage vows seriously. Most of them would not take time to reconsider the repercussions of their decisions on children when they separated.
Aisha Twalib, (24), a vitenge and khanga trader was married to Onai Neneka, (30), seven years ago.
They were staying in a rented room at Kisosora, on the outskirts of Tanga city. During the time, Onai was employed by a foreign building contractor as a mason.
In 2005 they were blessed by a male child whom they named Twalib, Aisha’s father.
But Onai was terminated in 2008 after expiry of his four-year contract employment.
Trouble started a year later after Onai was no longer able to provide for the family.
He would leave in the morning and come back home around seven in the evening, having left no money for purchases of food items for the day.
After six months or so, Aisha found the going tough and told her husband in no uncertain terms, that unless he bought food for the family, he should not expect to be part of the family unit in whatever manner.
Onai did not take her wife’s warning seriously. But shortly after, whenever he came back home, there was virtually no food left for him.
“The child has eaten whatever I had cooked and there is nothing left,” Aisha would tell Onai on being requested to provide food for him.
A few days later, Aisha asked for a divorce which Onai hesitated to accede to, but pressed from now and then,he one day took a pen and wrote a “talaka” and handed it to her wife.
Quickly, Aisha took the hand written document to her father, who unwillingly though, accepted it.
Onai is still jobless with no fixed abode, having been fired from the rented room for non payment of house rent at Kisosora.
On the other front, Aisha’s friends have advised her to take her ex husband to the Social Welfare Department to demand upkeep allowance for the child.
“He must be made to pay for the maintenance cost of the child, whether now employed or not,” said Aisha, adding that she can no longer to lerate to depend on her father who is retired and living on 50,000/- a month.
She added “When I ring him and tell him the child is sick, he simply says he (child) will be alright. He should know that what I want from him is child’s care expenses, not him as Onai”.
“I am in fact not interested in him anymore,” she concluded.