Sent packing for being barren
Ntobizodwa was left humiliated, dejected and suicidal when her five-year-long marriage ended because she could not conceive.
"My mother-in-law was very excited at the prospect of having grandchildren when we got married. A year later, when I had not borne any children, she started calling me a man, mocking and humiliating me at every turn. I complained to my husband, but he took her side. He worked and lived in Johannesburg while I stayed with my in-laws in the village. He visited on weekends, but he did not sleep at home when he was around. Those were difficult days," she said.
This went on for five years before Ntombizodwa's husband decided to send her back to her parents' home.
"He demanded that the cows he paid as lobola be returned to him because I was barren. My father refused to send back the cows, but the next morning we woke up to an empty kraal. He had taken all 11 cows and their calves during the night. His cruel actions left me feeling stripped bare, and I could not eat or sleep at night for months.
I also developed suicidal thoughts and planned to throw myself into a nearby river. However, I feared that my parents would not find my body. I avoided going out because I felt I was an embarrassment to the family and community. I later overdosed on painkillers with the intention of killing myself, but I only vomited and had diarrhoea," she said.
In 1996, Ntombizodwa moved in with her brother who lived in Johannesburg and started attending the services at the Universal Church with him.
"During the first service I attended, the pastor’s message gave me so much hope that I was going to heal from my painful past," she said.
The following year Ntombizodwa met Elleck and they later dated.
"I told him about how my marriage ended and I was shocked by his understanding and kindness. He was always attentive and took time to listen to me when we spoke," she said.
A few months into their relationship, Ntombizodwa was shocked when she discovered that she was pregnant.
"I had mixed emotions and I could not believe the news because I was told that I was barren. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl after carrying her to full term. Two years later he asked for my hand in marriage and that same year I gave birth to our second child. Five years later we had our youngest child.
I also decided to surrender my life to God and live right before Him. Opening my heart to receive salvation freed me from the anger and bitterness I had towards my ex-husband and his parents. God did not only heal me from my painful past, but He removed my shame of being barren. I am now a mother of three and am happily married," she said.