Hubby backs his childless wife
A woman has been faking pregnancy for nine months - with the backing of her hubby - because his parents don't want to have a childless makoti.
The in-laws had made it clear to the couple that their customary marriage would have to be annulled if his wife Jennifer Nxumalo could not bear a child.
They had also emphasised that they would chase her away from their home if she did not expect a baby soon.
"I had to tuck sponges in my clothes to make my in-laws believe that I had conceived and a child was on the way," said Nxumalo of New Forest village near Thulamahashe in Mpumalanga.
"At least they kept quiet and that's when I had peace because they have been haunting me since my marriage to their son in 2006."
Nxumalo's husband, Afrika Mathebula, collaborated the story.
"In fact we were ready to run away from home because my family is troubling me. My wife came up with this plan.
"It kept us going until now when my relatives discovered that we were faking her pregnancy that is why we wanted to run away.
"I'm standing by her because I love her and it's a pity that you happened to know about this before we could leave this home," said Mathebula.
Mathebula said the couple's plan was to flee to another place and then call the parents. "We planned to lie that my wife had a miscarriage," he said.
But their secret was laid bare by Nxumalo's friend on Sunday, who immediately notified Nxumalo's in-laws about the couple's plan.
Nxumalo's father-in-law Nelson Mathebula said: "I didn't believe what I was told. But after asking female relatives to check my daughter-in-law I discovered that she had indeed faked the pregnancy by tucking sponges in her clothes to look pregnant."
Mathebula senior said in his custom, it was compulsory for a married woman to bear children for the clan to grow.
The 24-year-old Nxumalo and her husband admitted to Sowetan that she had faked the pregnancy by tucking sponges in her clothes.
But Nxumalo was adamant yesterday: "My husband and I are inseparable."
Nxumalo said she understood the pressure culture exerted on married women.
"That's why I tried everything and I mean anything to fall pregnant. But when nothing happened I was left without any alternative but to fake it to make them happy," said Nxumalo.
Meanwhile, a woman from Malamulele in Limpopo was sentenced to three years imprisonment after stealing a child from Malamulele Hospital about two years ago.
She had allegedly faked her pregnancy and wanted to prove her point by bringing home a stolen newborn baby.