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Left holding the baby

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Real lives Left holding the baby
Nelly

Young mom tells of the trauma of not knowing the father of her child

A 24 -year -old single mother of a one -year old toddler has decided to put a random father’s name on her child’s birth certificate because she does not know the baby’s father’s real names.

The only identity known to the unemployed young woman of Lotlhakane in the Southern District is the man’s nickname, and that he is a soldier based at Glenvalley barracks in the capital city Gaborone.

She did not want her baby to be seen to be fatherless,’ so she invented a man’s name for the birth certificate.

“I want to be able to tell my child who her real father is. I want her to know him, but I do not know his real names,” *Nelly (not her real name) explained.

Relating her heart -wrenching story, the young mother whose name has been changed to protect the identity of the child said she was working as a housemaid in Phiring location when she met her secret lover.

“ I met him on the road walking home with my boss’s child from school in the afternoon. He stopped his car and asked for my phone number which I gladly gave him,” she said.

From there they started exchanging love messages through their mobiles phones and before she was ready to be a mother she was pregnant with a baby girl by a man she hardly knew.

“We only slept together twice at his house in Glen Valley and I fell pregnant,” she explained.

The distraught first time mother said that when she told the soldier that she was pregnant, he advised her to terminate the pregnancy and offered to foot the medical bill.

“He wanted me to do a backyard abortion. I lied to him that I was going to do it even though I knew I would never do such a thing. He however never gave me the money he had promised for abortion. I had intended to keep it so as to buy baby clothing with it,” the woman added.

From then on the soldier started playing hide and seek. She was to later learn that he was married.

“I used different polite Setswana phrases to tell him I was expecting his child. I said to him, “ Ke imile, ke mo mmeleng, ke itsholofetse,” but he still avoided me like a plague. Sometimes when we met by chance he would give me P200 and disappear after promising to make things right,” Nelly further lamented.

Now tired of the waiting, with their baby having turned a year old, she approached Real Lives and requested her story to be told. Above all she wanted to know the true identity of her baby daddy.

Asked why she was not taking the legal route, or report since she knows his nickname and mobile numbers, she expressed fear and that the man has at times intimidated her and warned her not to dare cause problems for his marriage.

“When I talk to my friends they say I should sue him but I don’t want to take that route and force him to see his child. I am afraid he may do something bad to her out of resentment, although I wish he could want to see her,” She stated before adding that,

“I want him to want to see and take care of his child. All I want is to know his true identity, that is, his full names and his home village. I only see him on Facebook.”

The man whose identity was discovered by this publication has denied ever sleeping with Nelly and said he does not know the woman at all.

Over 50% of women abused- Study

Nelly is just one out of 67 percent of women in Botswana who have experienced some form of gender related abuse.

According to the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender affairs a lot of abuse goes unreported and the Ministry has therefore decided to put gender-based violence at the top of government agenda.

When signing a joint gender programme with Botswana on Tuesday this week, The United Nation’s resident coordinator, Jacinta Barrins, stated that the UN would sponsor the government programme of gender-based violations from year 2018 to 2020.

The abuses she alluded to include, physical, sexual, emotional or mental harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty.