I was almost 30 years old when I applied for a divorce; I had no idea where to start all I knew was to get as far as possible from him. So the first thing I did was to Google ways of how to apply for a divorce without involving a lawyer and the reason for that was simply because I couldn’t afford one.
Luckily I didn’t have kids him so it was going to be easy for me to just fill in the forms and submit them. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to see my life falling apart, because I fell in love with the wrong man.
I loved him with every inch of my soul only for him to leave me for another woman. When I filed the divorce forms in year 2007, I specifically said I didn’t want anything from him all I wanted was my freedom and to avoid any fights.
I never thought that the word divorce would be in my vocabulary, because I thought ,y marriage would be forever not just a limited period. Summons were delivered and the date to appear in front of the magistrate was issued.
It was the 23rd of June 2008 when I took a leave of absence from work and went to court and my sister accompanied me. When I arrived there I realised I wasn’t the only one going through the same thing. I mean the court room was practically full with couples who were getting divorced and most of them were turned away, because the magistrate told them to go for counselling.
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When my turn came I was so nervous to face the magistrate and my fear was for him to turn me away, because the man that I was divorcing was absent. When I was sworn in by the interpreter, I told him to excuse himself and the reason was that he was speaking a Zulu language and I speak Xhosa; somehow we were going to clash on some words.
The first thing the magistrate said to me was, 'What is a young, beautiful woman like you doing with an old man who doesn’t even make time to appear in court?'
I was so amazed by his question and I felt so much calm. He asked me the same question again and my answer was that I loved the man and I thought he was genuine but I guess I got it wrong.
He also noticed that on the divorce application the only thing I wanted was to be able to use my maiden name again.
He said that is granted and he said for the years I’ve wasted with the man who was 13 years older than me, I deserved half of everything. The last thing he said: 'Go out there and find someone who will truly love you and erase the pain this man has caused you.
When you feel you are emotionally strong go and find a lawyer to fight for your share of the joint estate.'
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It didn’t last more than 5 minutes being on the stand and I was officially divorced and he was already staying with a woman he was cheating with in our house.
Now, 11 years later I’m still fighting for my share of the joint estate. I can’t even get a mortgage bond, because legally I still co-own a house with my ex-husband who has been married for nine years.
Honestly taking an easy route during my divorce was not the best choice, because now for the past 9 years I’ve been paying lawyers to help me with my claims.
After being divorced for 11 years, I’m supposed to be happy and enjoying life, instead I’m crying all the time and the worst part is I never truly loved any man again.
I guess I’m afraid of being hurt again, so after I had my second child I told myself I’d rather be lonely and have no man in my life.
Read more on #dignifieddivorce series here.
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