City pastor and gospel musician, Joan Wairimu, has for the first time gone public about being in an abusive marriage for over 17 years.
The ‘Pambazuka’ composer got married to Bishop William Musyoki Mwangangi in 1996 before they filed for divorce in 2013. Joan had initiated the case at a Nairobi court seeking orders of separation but Mwangangi filed a cross-petition, asking the court to dissolve the marriage.
While opening up in a candid interview on Kikuyu Diaspora TV, Joan said her abusive ex-husband was unfaithful and threatened to kill her. She said she stayed in the abusive marriage out of fear of being judge by people seeing as she was a public figure.
“For the sake of all people who know you as a role model, the congregation, it was difficult for me to walk out. I would smile and pretend it was all okay, but I was not because he did all wrongs to me,” she said.
“He was cheating with church ladies, beating me and many times he threatened to kill me.”
According to Joan, she knew she was in big trouble within the first five years of marriage. She was, nonetheless, determined to make it work and keep her family.
“It was a very hard reality to accept that someone you love can hurt you. It is not once or twice that I was threatened to be killed. There were so many times he carried a knife in the bedroom and told me it was the end and he was going to kill me and end his life as well,” the worship singer recounted.
Joan said the “Man of God” would then apologise and life would go on but it was an unending cycle that left her deaf in one ear.
“I lost a nerve in one of the ears because of being beaten. My mother-in-law even told me to take care.”
She recalled how one time, her ex-husband bribed their houseboy to claim that she wanted to have a sexual relationship with him.
“It was a public false accusation and there is nothing tough like when you are a public person trying to protect your name, then someone else is accusing you falsely to tarnish your name,” she said.
Joan added that he kept threatening her not to leave the marriage or he would make sure her name was tarnished.
The singer said she finally decided to walk out of the marraige when her then-husband disowned their three children.
“After many years of beating, he denied he is the biological father of my children. A person who has made you deaf wakes up one day and say he is not the biological father,” she said.
Adding: “I asked myself, who will I tell the children their dad is? The children had to do a DNA, and so I had to explain to them the reason they had to go through the DNA.”
The ‘Mungu Wangu’ singer has since relocated to Canada with the children and is the founder of Queens Ministry International.