A LOW-WAGE worker, father of seven children by six different mothers, is divorcing his wife for reportedly undermining his dream of fathering even more kids.
Peter Utukwafeni Nghifilenya, a 52-year-old resident of Oshakati, who is a veteran security guard, was happily married to 45-year-old Hileni Matheus until 2010 when he allegedly discovered that she kept a secret from him before they became husband and wife.
They met in 2006, fell in love, started cohabiting and in 2008 she bore a baby girl. They married the following year in 2009.
However, unbeknown to Nghifilenya, Matheus was sterilized after she gave birth to the child in 2008, but before their wedding in 2009.
“She kept me in the dark. I only discovered her hidden secret in 2010 when I proposed that we bear at least one more kid. That is when she revealed the secret. I became furious, but she simply dismissed my views saying that her sterilization was none of my business. From that point onwards our marriage was no longer what it used to be,” said Nghifilenya, who by that time was already a father to five children from four different mothers.
He, however, wants more kids, and cloaks that what he could not get from his wife, he got from other women.
He went on to have two more children by two different women in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
He claims that from then on, his wife has been refusing to share a bed with him and went as far as approaching the Oshipumbu Shomugongo village headman to demand that their traditional homestead be registered in her name alone.
The demand was rejected.
“Nevertheless, I decided to abandon that homestead and leave her in peace. The homestead is now her property, but she soon turned to our house at Oshakati and chased away my other kids and my relatives,” he said.
In what appears to have been a tit-for-tat, Nghifilenya also chased away his wife’s sister who was staying with them, an act that allegedly earned him the wrath of his wife’s relatives.
“She, her mother, brother, sister… all of them attacked me verbally and insulted me like a mob,” he claims.
As a security guard, Nghifilenya was mostly working far from home – Rundu, Tsumkwe, Oshikango, Swakopmund, Khorixas – and whenever he went home for a weekend, his wife allegedly chased him away.
In April 2016 he arranged a meeting with elders and family friends to try and iron out issues, but she attacked him physically in their presence by pressing her hands tightly around his neck as if trying to suffocate him.
This incident was confirmed by a family friend and name-sake of their daughter.
“We were shocked and terrified to behold a woman attacking her husband like that in our presence,” she said.
In 2019, Nghifilenya was ordered to pay a monthly maintenance of N$600, an amount that entails N$300 for his estranged wife and N$300 for his child.
Nghifilenya said he protested, claiming he could not afford the high amount.
“I have seven children and also support my elderly widowed mother, but my plea was shot down. I was practically forced to sign and started paying maintenance in August 2019 until I stopped paying in August last year when my employment was terminated due to the coronavirus pandemic. My wife is now demanding ownership of my house at Oshakati, which, in actual fact, is not mine but my elder brother’s. I was merely left in that house years ago when my brother left for South Africa where he is still employed,” said Nghifilenya, who is currently stranded at Khorixas.
He said he wants a divorce but cannot afford a lawyer.
Informanté visited the house, but Matheus was nowhere to be found.
Her mobile was not reachable for the past two days.