Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
MR Musiiwa Dube is a single father, raising his eight-year-old son alone, in a break from the common practice where women usually raise the child in cases of divorce.
Mr Dube from Emakhandeni suburb in Bulawayo separated with his wife four years ago.
He claims that she cheated on him.
He said despite the infidelity, he continued to live with his wife as he was prepared to forgive her but she later left him and relocated to South Africa, leaving him raising the minor child.
Mr Dube said although he did not change his attitude towards her, one day she woke up and “escaped’ under the pretext that she was visiting relatives.
He believes circumstances leading to their separation have led him to mistrust women and it has been difficult for him to move on.
Mr Dube said it has become extremely challenging to single-handedly raise his child considering the nature of his job that takes him away from home for days.
Although Mr Dube initially agreed to share his picture with Chronicle, he later opted for his story to come out without his image.
“I started raising him alone when he was four years old and he is now eight years old.
My ex-wife left him when she left me and I’ve done my best to raise him.
I’ve always had a very strong bond with my child.
I remember when my ex-wife were still together, he didn’t care whether she was around or not but would cry whenever I was leaving.
So, I wondered how a child would love his father more than her mother,” said Mr Dube.
“However, since I separated with his mother it has not been easy raising him solo.
I spend most of my time at work and I have to cook for him before I leave for work and prepare all the day’s food.
It’s a bit challenging raising him because of my line of work, sometimes I spend two to three days away from home.
So, in my absence, I look for someone to take care of him on a temporary basis.
I’m forced to look for someone who will look after him.”
He said he has tried to hire domestic workers to take care of his son but most of them end up wanting a relationship with him, resulting in him firing them while others are unreliable.
Mr Dube said he mistrusts women following the painful circumstances that his customary marriage ended.
He discovered pictorial and text messages proving the infidelity.
“I don’t want to lie, the reason that led me to part with his mother hurt me so much.
Sometimes I get into relationships but it becomes very difficult to trust anyone.
I no longer trust women.
What I went through was painful and if I was someone, I could have committed suicide or ended up in jail for killing her,” said Mr Dube.
“I remember when I went to tell my in-laws, her uncle about what she had done, the first thing the uncle asked me was ‘which hospital was she hospitalised in or which mortuary had I left her body.’
Her uncle said to me ‘if it was his wife who had done it, she surely would have been dead.’
I struggled explaining to him that I had not laid a hand on her.”
Infidelity cases have on several times led to murder and suicide.
Mr Dube said he believes that self-restraint is very important because domestic violence cases have unintended effects on children.
“As men, as far as gender-based violence, is concerned we are emotional victims.
We know women get physically assaulted but with men we are emotionally abused.
Women can be provocative and I remember even during those days that I had caught her, she would even loudly speak with neighbours saying ‘I hope he did not call my boyfriends.’
“I think she was hoping I would assault her but I didn’t. Imagine what would have happened to my child if I had allowed my anger to overcome me.
I could have either been jailed for killing her or committed suicide.
As a result, my child was going to have suffered more.”
He said while he is raising his child alone, there are times when he feels a mother’s touch will make a difference in his home.
“Sometimes, my child might not be feeling well, he has to be taken to hospital and I have to balance my job and raising him.
If he is given medication, I have to monitor him and all these things could be easier done if there was a woman in my life.
Even as he goes to school, I leave home after preparing his meals and this means that he also eats cold meals which are not good for him,” he said.
Mr Dube said due to the bond he has with his son; he has opted against letting his son stay with relatives.
A marriage counsellor, Mr Christopher Ngwarai said it was bold for Mr Dube to come out about challenges faced by men in marriages.
He said a lot of men suffer from mental health problems causing some to commit suicide.
“Most of the times when a man comes out speaking about his problems in marriages, they are labelled as weak.
It is unlike women who share their challenges, even in church gatherings women openly share their challenges.
But men will prefer to talk about soccer or business.
When a man tries to open up on being cheated on, the first thing that happens is that he is labelled as weak and accused of failing to satisfy his wife sexually,” he said.
Mr Ngwarai said there is a need for more men to openly discuss mental health issues related to gender-based violence in the hands of their spouses.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said it was sad that lives are being lost as a result of domestic violence cases.
“Even men are also coming up, previously it was taboo for men to come out in the open and report cases of domestic violence.
What it means is we need all stakeholders to be involved in promoting the message of peace in families,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
“It is a fact that the police have investigated cases where people have died, where people have been injured because of social media where someone notices a message on WhatsApp platforms sent to their husband or wife and they start fighting.
One takes a knife to stab their spouse.
What is needed is that people need to be responsible when they use social media platforms.”
He said various societal groups should promote peace particularly in homes as gender-based violence cases mostly occur within households.