Imelda Nabanja Nsereko is in her mid-forties, frail with skin that shows the ravages of time. Her eyes begin to tear as she narrates her story. I am watching her in silence. She is also recently widowed from her second marriage.
When my first husband and I separated, it was because his family had put him under a lot of pressure to bear a son. He cheated with my sister and she bore him one after two girls. I had also given birth to three girls, and I stayed even when he started cheating with my sister. I left when he violent. Found a new man after five years and happily settled down.
In the 9th year, Tom (my first husband) died. Of course I was devastated. I had gone with two of my daughters and left him with the oldest. My sister raised the older girl with him, but even though she never mistreated her, their relationship was not good.
When he died, Tom’s family was not kind to me. I remember his sisters hurling insults at me as soon as I arrived for his funeral. His mother called me a white because I had given birth in another man’s home and the aunts could not stand the sight of me.
My three daughters faced a day worse than mine. Apart from enduring the rejection of “their family”, being called out to go find who their father is; because their mother was a slut, they were not given anything when time for sharing their deceased father’s properties came.
Because Liz was my sister, I expected her to be kind to her nieces (who in this case also qualify as her step daughters). But she watched as the family made her son heir and took the rest of the properties. At least Liz got the marital home which was initially mine and my children’s.
Tom’s family took over his other businesses. He had once talked about writing a will, but it was never spoken of during and after burial. My daughter’s were not given anything. even the oldest whom my sister would have taken care of was sent away from the house and pushed back into my care. My fiancée at the time accepted her. And we started raising our family of six children. Three girls from my last relationship and three boys with him.
However, he died from poisoning after a work meeting upcountry that same year. He did not have much honestly. So when he died, there wasn’t much of any inheritance to keep. But the one thing he left me, our home was also taken over by his older brother.
I was confused when he died. I lost consciousness for nearly a day, I’m told. When I regained consciousness, most of the belongings in the house has been taken away, the burial arrangements had fortunately been taken care of, but I had nothing left. Except for pictures, the clothes I was wearing and my six children to start from scratch again.
I wish I had been part of Tom’s will. I wish he had a lawyer. Maybe if I had known that two years from the time of my second husband’s death, I would be living in a small mud house in Katanga, then maybe I would have grabbed as much wealth from my first marriage as I could.
As told to Douglas D. Sebamala