- She had a bright future ahead of her, but then she met her husband in her third year on university
- After graduating she married her bae and moved to a rural Xhosa area to be his wife
- But, the transition was a lot harder than she thought, she quickly released she was not happy and something needed to change
A woman met the love of her life in her last year on university, and they tied the knot just after her graduation because neither of them wanted a long distance relationship.
Her hubby, a well-established rural businessman, was Xhosa and she was Zulu, but it did not bother her because the two cultures fall "under the same Nguni umbrella".
However, shortly after she moved with her spouse to a rural Xhosa area in Eastern Cape, she realised it was not going to be easy.
"I was now a Xhosa wife and was expected to dress and behave like one. I went through an initiation where I had to wear my full Xhosa wife attire (amajalman) and I was expected to work hard around the house, make tea for visitors and be respectful and friendly to the community.", she explained.
She added she enjoyed the new phase until she realised she did not want to be just a Xhosa wife, her dreams were way to big to just fade away for cultural expectations.
"I’d worked as a TV and radio presenter but was now the cleaning lady and general dogs body in my husband’s business."
She added her personal appearance went out of the window- she went from a girl who wore heals and made an effort to look good to a wife who wore trousers and a 'doek' 24/7.
And then there was the older women who made it their mission to include themselves in her life.
"Whenever older women saw me around town they couldn’t resist advising me on how to be a good wife and take care of my husband."
Knowing she wanted to do more put a strain on her marriage, adding she and her hubby fought a lot when she realised she was "losing my professional freedom as the role of wife took over".
"I felt like I was suffocating, and I didn’t want to give up everything I believed in just to wear a ring on my finger. When I had a child I knew it was time to reassess and take back control of my life."
She decided to take control of her life and re-establishing her identity within the community. She convinced her husband to help her start a youth-inspired arts and media company, and she stated focusing on her career again.
The wifey added she was not being rebellious, she still respected the community but it had to be a two-way street, they had to respect her too.
Her attire also changed. She ditched the doeks and started wearing pants again, but she did compromise- she would wear appropriate Xhosa clothing to her in-laws and change as soon as she left.
After her journey to self-discovery, she realised she learned a lot about marriage as well, adding one needs to prepare for the big step.
"As a woman there’s a lot you have to leave behind, but once you learn to adjust and rebuild your life together, it can turn out beautifully."
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