On a Saturday afternoon, Voice cartoonist, Lesole Ntshole was boarding a combi from Mochudi to Morwa when he overheard a conversation between passengers about mother-in laws and daughters- law’s traditionally adversarial relationships.
LADY IN BLACK JACKET: There’s something we overlook when it comes to a high rate of divorce.
I don’t know whether it’s a Setswana norm, but often mothers-in-law are to blame for their sons’ failed marriages.
It usually starts off with a good relationship between the mother- in- law and her potential daughter- in –law but once the son has married, the mutual relationship often gets strained.
SHORTHAIRED LADY: It has nothing to do with it being a norm, but everything to do with greed.
Many mothers would want to control their sons’ marriage in order to benefit financially.
LADY IN GERMAN PRINT: Let’s not rule out that sometimes daughters-in-law are also to blame.
Once they’re married, they start having “they’ll- all know-me attitude and fighting to divorce their husbands from his biological family.”
LADY IN BLACK JACKET: I disagree with you. The moment you marry a man, you’re in control.
You become part of decision making in your family.
If the family needs something from their son, they should politely ask.
DRIVER: In Setswana culture, there’s a procedure to be followed when you ask for something.
As a mother, you don’t directly ask from your son, but consult your daughter-in-law first.
It’s a pity that some mothers choose to flout that protocol.
SHORTHAIRED LADY: At times the man’s family would have depended on him for groceries, and general upkeep of the biological family before marriage.
The moment they realise that he has left a financial gap they connive with their mother to call the daughter-in law some ugly names.
DRIVER: I know of some men who’d allow their families to disrespect their wives.
As a man, you should stand firm to tell your family that you didn’t marry your wife for them.
The cartoonist disembarks from the combi near Morwa Bridge, leaving the passengers still engrossed in the conversation.