“I haven’t had sex for 44 years”

Thembi’s in-laws took everything, but she still honours her dead husband

Everson Luhanga

Thembi Ndlovu has refused to cheat on her husband since he was killed in 1977 by apartheid police in Soweto.

“Every time I think of sleeping with a man, I feel like I am hurting him as he has an eye over me. I loved and still love my husband,” she says.

The 76-year-old woman from Alexandra says she has never slept with any other man out of respect for her slain husband.

“When he met me I was a virgin. He was the first man I slept with and he will be the last.”

The couple married and were blessed with three children, all boys.

Thembi says her first born son was shot and killed in an armed robbery in his beauty shop in Soweto and the second born died from an illness in 2013.

Thembi shared her story from her home in Alexandra on how her husband died.

“My husband was a photographer. 

“He was killed by the apartheid police while taking photos of the second wave of riots in 1977 in Soweto where we used to have a house,” she says.

As hard as it was after losing her husband, Thembi says she went through the pain of losing everything she and her husband worked hard for.

She says her husband’s family chased her away, taking everything. The in-laws claimed that everything she and her husband owned belonged only to her husband.

“They took away our house, the cars, the bank accounts and everything in the house leaving me with nothing.

“I had to go out and start paying rent with my three children, the youngest being an 11-month-old infant,” says Thembi.

She earned a living as a professional nurse and raised her children on her meagre salary.

She never tried to find another man to support her financially. “I had respect for my late man and my children,” she says.

Thembi has tough advice for young women today on this Women’s Day. “Get educated. Find a job. The generation of men today are attracted to career women”. 

She reminds girls and young women to stop indulging in drinking and sex. “It is a disgrace that a girl would drop pants to a man just for beers. This must stop and women must have groups to speak about these issues, to build their self-worth,” she says.