Gospel singer Justina Syokau, popular for her Twendy Twendy hit has narrated how long-time courtship topped off with a fairy-tale wedding to the man she loved soon turned into a living nightmare. Speaking to BBC, the Machakos-born singer recalled walking down the aisle in 2012 at a colourful wedding ceremony after saying yes to her Prince Charming’s proposal.
Things went smoothly during their honeymoon and the newly-wed bride returned home with high hopes of a happy ever after. Her hopes we soon dashed.
According to Justina, the trajectory of her marriage took a downward spiral soon after the wedding. Laying the blame squarely on her in-laws whom they were living with, she accused them of making their marital life difficult.
“Right after the wedding, my husband started physically and verbally abusing me; he’d punch me at the slightest provocation,” claimed the singer.
Despite living in fear of being assaulted, Justina said that she opted to stay put hoping that one day, her husband would change. However, things between them got worse with time.
“Sometimes, my husband would travel for several days without informing me where he was. He used to leave me without money or food. Shockingly, he was listening to his mother more than me; I had no voice in my marriage.”
She further claimed that her mother-in-law would insult her in her husband’s presence and he’d do nothing to protect her.
Baby’s birth, house help turned co-wife
After giving birth to their first child through caesarean section, Justina needed assistance with house chores and her hubby got them a house help from his village who arrived before the singer’s discharge from hospital.
Soon after arriving home from the hospital with her new-born, Justina’s husband and mother-in-law demanded that she packs her things and leaves her home. Soon, it became evident that her husband and the house help were having an affair.
“It was not a secret; they would call each other often and play around like lovers in my presence.”
According to the singer, her Christian values played a part in her persevering through the travails.
“I wondered ‘If I leave what would people say about my broken marriage?’ As a Christian, I didn’t want people to think I was unable to maintain my marriage and so I opted to stay put,” she said.
The affair between her husband and house help was soon so obvious they would have sex in Justorina’s matrimonial bed. It didn’t take long for the house help to go after Justina, accusing her of verbal abuse.
Despite Justina’s defence that she’d not insulted her husband’s lover, she was clobbered and thrown out with nothing except her baby’s clothes. Having no one to turn to, she slept in the streets with her baby for two months.
“We had no place to sleep and I’d look for food in garbage bins. There was no one to help me during that tough period in my life.”
She met a Good Samaritan who gave her money for fare and she travelled back to her parents’ home in Machakos. However, because of her family’s negative perception of women in failed marriages, she got a cold reception.
Feeling unwelcome, she soon left home to look for work from a friend they use to attend church together.
“I started a new life and started focusing on recording music and hawking it with my baby strapped on my back,” she said
Justina has since moved on and is determined to fulfil her dream as a musician. She urges women in abusive marriages to be decisive rather than continue suffering.