Woman accused of abandoning young children for months

A woman from Lovendale suburb on the outskirts of Bulawayo reportedly abandoned her children to take up employment as a helper in Botswana.

The woman left her children aged 13, 11, and 7 and four-year-old twins in the care of their 18-year-old brother but because of work, he would go away for a long time leaving his siblings alone.

The issue came to light when a school teacher to one of the children sent out an appeal after the child had informed her that they had spent a week without eating.

When a CITE news crew visited the children, other community members had brought them groceries which includes mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar, rice, soap, mahewu, school stationery and other necessities.

“It saddens me that people are now giving us food, I am happy and saddened at the same time as it now looks like our mother doesn’t love us, but she does, she told me that she hasn’t been paid yet,” said the 13-year-old daughter.

“My siblings and I look for water and firewood on our own, but I am okay with taking care of my siblings.”

Simon Nleya, a member of the Lovendale Residents’ Committee, Simon Nleya said the children were alone for a very long time. 

“These kids have been alone for a long time, my wife and I once took them to stay with us since we realized that this is a busy area for kids to live alone. We assisted them with school preparations, and my wife could bath the twins as they were still young and could not speak yet,” said Nleya.

He said during the Covid-19 era, the twins got seriously ill but they only could steam them and pray until they got better.

“There was a time when their aunt took them and later they had to come back to this house. When their mother came for the December holiday she didn’t even tell us or thank us for taking care of her children, but we didn’t mind. She stayed for a few days and went back, we heard that her husband also came during that time,” said Nleya.

Contacted for a comment, the mother, Virginia Ndlovu said the economic situation and the hardship she faced forced her to go to Botswana to look for employment as a helper.

“I left them alone as I was trying to hustle so that they could eat, their father was no longer helping me. Things changed between us when I was pregnant with the twins, my 18-year-old son is the one who bought me preparation for my children whilst he was working and did nothing,” said Ndlovu.

She said her children used to stay with her mother in the rural areas.

“But the school was far, I could receive calls at night that the children are not yet back from school, I took them for school holidays, but when schools opened, their father said he has no money to send the children back home or for them to attend school here”.

“My children were forced to drop out of school, my daughter is supposed to be in grade 6 but she is in grade 4 as it is. After giving birth to the twins I had to go around looking for menial jobs and the same daughter is the one who was responsible for taking care of my twins since people didn’t want children at work,” she said.

Ndlovu said after receiving a job offer in Botswana she had to explain the situation to her children.

“I had no choice but to go to Botswana as the money was not enough here, my eldest son assured me that they will manage together with my daughter to take care of other siblings,” she said.

“I admit that I left my children alone but I had no choice, I even tried to look for people to look after my children including my young sister but they were taking money and not taking care of them.”

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