'I stayed married for 22 years without ever living with my AWOL husband'

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Fikile Nkosi. Image supplied
Fikile Nkosi. Image supplied
  • Fikile Nkosi from Ruimsig says she spent over two decades in a marriage with no husband.
  • The couple had a child but the husband never participated when it came to parenting, he simply never came to see them.
  • She eventually picked herself up, got an education and divorced her absent husband.


Fikile Nkosi stayed in a marriage for 22 years despite her husband being absent. She tells W24 that things got sour when they registered their marriage, and her husband went to work in Pretoria before they had a chance to live together.

Fikile says she has since decided to focus on herself and her children and divorce her husband.

She has not completely ruled out the thought of getting married again despite her ordeal, saying, "I would get married again if I meet a guy who has the same vision as I do in life."

But why is she sharing her story now?

"I have decided to share my story because it is a life lesson to me and to other women, young or old, that no matter what you go through in life do not give up on your dreams.  It is not a bad thing to change what you used to believe in if it does not yield your expected results," the 43-year-old tells W24.

"Do not be bitter or angry just because a men left you with a child or children and now you must nurture and provide for them. Do not be afraid to ask for help or accept help from others. Do not feel sorry for yourself, work on changing your situation."

READ MORE | 'My boyfriend of 2 months scammed me off R600 000, told me to pawn my car and faked a hijacking'

Here is her story:

Fikile met her husband while they were young and they fell in love. Soon after that she fell pregnant and he went to her parents and told them that he wants to make her his wife. They agreed.

However, on the day of the lobola negotiations, he didn’t show up. He later called Fikile and said that he was robbed.

“I was a naive young girl, so I believed him,” she shares. “On the following week, we had to go register our marriage. The day came and we registered the wedding with no problem but lobola was still not paid.”

She went back to her parent’s home, continued to raise their child and waited for the lobola while he was working in Pretoria.

READ MORE | 'My boyfriend of 2 months scammed me off R600 000, told me to pawn my car and faked a hijacking'

“One day I decided to call him using a public phone and a lady answered. I was confused,” says Fikile, who had still not gotten a chance to live with her husband.

She was slightly bothered by the incident and thought she would discuss it with her husband when they eventually met. In the meantime, she continued raising her child with no job, no income and no financial or emotional support from the father.

One day, he called and asked her to visit his parent’s house and he sent her transport money for the trip. “I went to his home in Nelspruit, and he had told me that he was coming. I waited for days for him but he never showed up and I could not go back home because I did not have money for transport. I stayed for about a week at his home,” shares Fikile.

“His mom told me to hustle like every other woman who hustles to feed her family, and not wait for a man to feed me. I was only 20 years of age at that time, and I had to start hustling to take care of a family,” she says.

Fortunately, a week later, he finally arrived.

"I kept waiting for an opportunity to talk to him, but he didn’t give me the time of day, we didn’t even share a bedroom.”

READ MORE | 8 signs it is time to let go of a relationship that doesn't serve you anymore

Before he could go back to Pretoria, he gave her money which was enough to go back home but he still had no time to have a conversation with her about the time frame of him coming back to her parent’s house to pay lobola, his intentions about the marriage or his child.

“When, it was time to go home my mother-in law gave me old track pants for my son. I decided to intentionally forget it on the bed because I felt insulted about the gesture. I didn’t have a lot, but I still had my pride," she says.

Fikile went back home, and life went on. She states that to make sure that her child never went to bed hungry, she started learning about gardening from her mother. She then grew vegetables in her front yard.

“After some time, my late grandmother said it would be better for me to get a job or further my studies to get better employment opportunities. I decided to further my studies, but my matric results were not good enough to land me a bursary or a spot at a university," she says.

Her former school could not accept her to repeat Grade 12 but because she was determined to better her life and her matric results, she requested to go back to Grade 11.

READ MORE | 'My fiancé tries to pay lobola every year, but I get sick around that time, leading to cancellations'

The school principal accepted her request and she achieved better results to land a spot at varsity but not a bursary.

“During all this time , my grandmother was looking after my child.” Mind you, my ‘husband’ still hasn’t contacted me,” says Fikile.

She enrolled in varsity and passed her first year. “On my second year, I met a guy and fell pregnant,” she says.

While she was pregnant with her second child, she received a call from her husband requesting to talk to her.

“My sister and I went to meet him in a public space. He told me that for him to have a relationship with his child, he should have a romantic relationship with me first,” Fikile says.

“I told him that we can’t be together, but he can come have a relationship with his child.”

She explains that he kept calling after that, but he didn’t want to tell her where he stayed. One day, she called him, and a woman answered again. “She insulted me, but I told her that although he is mine, she can keep him,” she says.

The husband disappeared again after that phone call.

READ MORE | ‘My boyfriend told me he impregnated another woman but he still wants to marry me'

"In 2011, I completed my studies after so many hardships of raising two children and studying at the same time. I also lost the father of my second born and had no income to care for my children and started looking for a job," she says.

Life was a lot, but she had to keep pushing. Eventually got a permanent job offer and relocated to KwaZulu Natal. Before she relocated to KZN for the job, he started calling again.

He started telling her that he loved her, wanted to fix their relationship, and accepts the child that she had with another man while they are still ‘married.’

"My children and their well-being was very important to me and I considered the what ifs for my daughter, what if he abuses my daughter (physically or even sexually), not that he was an abusive person but I knew that if he did not love his own son, how would he love a child he did not father," Fikile says.

“He kept coming back and disappearing again.”

READ MORE | 'My boyfriend of 2 months scammed me off R600 000, told me to pawn my car and faked a hijacking'

The new job was not as interesting as it was presented to her, it was a different department but similar position. She realised that she was not happy and wanted to build her career, thus she went to do her post graduate degree with the University of KwaZulu Natal.  

“This posed a challenge with my boss because she refused to motivate for me to get a bursary from the employer, and she made my life unbearable at work with an intention of discouraging me from studying," she says.

"I had to choose between quitting my varsity for the small income I was earning and accepting that my life was over or pursuing my studies with the hope of getting something better. I have decided to resign from my employer and study full time, because of my love for academics and wanting to better my life to be able to take care of my children."

Eventually things worked out, and Fikile now has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and works as a senior finance consultant.

Her husband came back again but this time Fikile was grown up and could reason better. She had a clear picture of what she wanted to do with her life.

She told her husband to go to her parent’s home and they would tell him of the way forward because all these years they were financially and emotionally supporting his family that he told them he wanted to build with their child.

She decided to divorce him after 22 years of marriage but with no lobola paid and never having lived together.

She tells W24 that other than finding a lawyer and actually tracing ex-husband, the decision to divorce him was an easy one.

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