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Gender Based Violence - A Woman Who Conquered It

This particular lady got married in 1976 to an engineer in the Zambia railways. She worked in Local Government in the Public Health Section. They had (8) eight children six boys and two girls. According to her the family planning pills never worked in her even though she took them. She had a baby every two years.

Unfortunately her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. During his sickness she discovered how her husband’s siblings did not like him and his family. They did not help him when he was in hospital. He was instrumental in educating them when he was well and looked after the whole family in the village. The wife had a two year old baby but they demanded that she stayed by the bedside of her husband in hospital.

Unfortunately her husband died in 2003. The wife was made to prepare the corpse for burial. She paid some mortuary attendants to help her prepare the husband for that. During the funeral the husband’s people demanded she followed the tradition of sitting in the corner place to welcome all who came to mourn. She would have done this if they volunteered to get food for the children and the mourners but they did not do that. She had to choose to provide food for her family so she left the ‘corner ‘and went out to buy food, the act highly criticised by her husband’s brothers.

She was told to choose one of the brothers as her future husband and when she declined to choose any, they demanded she gave them all the money their brother left. They took all the money. She willingly gave it to them rather than suffer abuse. The funeral over, they walked away and left her with her 8 children. The eldest was at college and the youngest was two and half years.

How was she to fend for them with no money except the bit she got at work? She bought a truck with her little money and started to collect garbage in Kabwe. At first the Council made her pay for doing that because the households she collected garbage paid her. She managed to live and pay school fees for her children. Her older boy trained as a driver and so drove the truck though at this time he was a university graduate. One by one they learned to drive. She started her NGO (Non-Government Organisation) called Garbage Collection and was the chairlady. Her children most of whom were aware of how she suffered earlier supported her in everything she ventured to do.

She joined the women lobby group and now she is on the board of the National Women Lobby group of Zambia. African Women Entrepreneurship Project (AWEP) started by Mrs Hilary Clinton is in Zambia and Mrs Museteka is a member of it. She is in every organisation that works with women. She is a member of Kabwe Chamber of Commerce. She has a small farm and has built a house there. It is as if she wants to prove to the women that one can rise from abuse to riches. Two years ago she learned to drive and has her own car.

The YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in Zambia is an NGO that works for and with abused women and children. They encourage and help them. I am sure, if given the capital and motivation, most women would be like Mrs Museteka. For her ‘the sky is the limit’.

Mrs Museteka is helping Kabwe to stay Covid free as you can watch the video below or visit here.