By Mariam Mokhtar
Not all Africans are bad, as many Malaysians will attest, although you occasionally hear disturbing stories about the activities of Africans studying at private universities in KL. Recently, residents of condominiums in Sunway and Shah Alam complained about the African tenants in their block; they are rowdy, hold wild parties, take advantage of local women and are linked to drug and human trafficking.
Angela (not her real name) is in her forties. She is originally from Ipoh, but now lives in Kedah where she works as a special educational needs (SEN) teacher. She gives us a glimpse into her life as the wife of an African. She said, "I want other women to know the consequences of marrying an African. I sacrificed a lot to assist him and his, family. In the end, his betrayal killed my heart."
It started in 2002 when Angela was introduced to Eddie, who is from Cameroon. He was reading Business Management, at a private university in Kuala Lumpur.
Love blossomed when she saw his compassionate nature. Alarm bells should have rung, when he dropped out of university, but Angela was not worried. Eddie alleged that despite paying to renew his student visa, he had been tricked.
They kept in touch by phone and a year later, left KL, and married in the registrar at Sungai Petani, where they set up house. She said, "My family was furious. My mum did not agree, even on the wedding day. Eddie's mother attended the wedding, but no one has bothered to visit, to meet our daughter.”
"None of his family appreciated me, even though I supported them financially. Eddie's mother was a difficult woman, very demanding and protective of her son. She did not respect my Indian culture. She expected me to be in the kitchen with her, while she cooked, even though our kitchen is tiny."
Eddie was a good husband, and Angela did not complain. She was annoyed that he behaved like a member of royalty, but he helped in her business and made good money.
Angela's neighbour had problems accepting Eddie, but things later improved. She is grateful for the care and devotion he showed her uncle, her aunt and her mother when they were ill, and right up till their deaths.
It was when she bought her first car, that the cracks in their marriage, became visible.
She said, "He started his own business, in Ipoh, and his partner was a woman, with whom he started an affair. He did not care that she was married and I was pregnant with our child. He used my car for his work.
"I remember having no rice in the house, when I was pregnant. He never came home at the weekends, despite his promises. He claimed not to have any money, to help with the baby or the bills. He stopped providing for me and although he claimed to love his daughter, he made no attempt to provide for her, visit her or help me."
A succession of Pastors advised him, but he only spoke of 'that woman' back in Ipoh. Angela found emails describing intimate details of Eddie's relationship and about starting a life with his mistress. He refused Angela's efforts to seek counselling.
Forced to face-up to reality. Angela said, "I don't think he wanted to marry me, but it was his ticket to stay here and live like a king."
Soon, Eddie started an affair with another woman, so Angela chucked him out of the house, for good. Undaunted Eddie, simply stayed over at his mistress's house, in Penang.
Although Eddie had no history of violence, Angela said, "Eddie told me that he was going to meet an old man, at my education centre, but I caught him in flagrante delicto. I slapped him and he slapped me back till my ears bled and I was concussed. I lodged a police report, submitted it to the immigration authorities, to cancel his work permit and long-term social visit pass."
By then Angela had had enough. She said, "He just used me. He stole from my account and even claimed not to have money to return to the Cameroon.
"I twice miscarried and tried to seek help to support myself and my daughter. I was helping my mother, who was suffering from cancer. When my car was repossessed, my cousin stepped in to help. When Eddie's father was ill, I helped financially and when his father died, I, my friend and my church helped to pay the funeral expenses."
Relating her horrid experience has been cathartic. Angela hopes that other Malaysian women will learn from her. She said, "I sacrificed so much for love. Would I do it again? No!"