30 May 2018

Zimbabwe: Mai Titi Breaks Down, Makes Controversial Claims

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwean comedian Mai Titi (file photo).

She has been known for her strong and outspoken personality, however the world got to see the vulnerable side of Mai Titi, born Felistus Maruta, when she broke down live on her Facebook page.

In the emotional video Mai Titi alleges that her ex-husband infected her with HIV and she was in an abusive marriage for eight years.

However, in the process of seemingly seeking sympathy, she also attracted controversy with her allegations.

While most women sympathised with her, she also got negative feedback for revealing someone's HIV status on social media. Many said it could have been a case of sour grapes since the ex-husband (whom she mentions by name in the clip) is said to have recently got married.

But women rallied behind her and pledged emotional support.

Mai Titi narrated her story from 2008, the year she got married to a man her mother despised up to the point she allegedly found out that her then husband was HIV-positive.

"I later discovered that this guy was not well health wise, something that he never told me. I asked him and we sat down with his family but all he could say was he was sorry and he had not told me because he was scared I would leave him. I was very bitter and my family was very bitter. I reported him to the police but he begged me (for mercy) and I dropped the charges," said Mai Titi.

She went on to explain how she had financially helped her ex-husband's family when things were tight and how the mother-in-law abused her.

Mai Titi said her ex-husband who recently got married was deliberately trying to provoke her when he sent her pictures of him and his new wife at their traditional wedding ceremony.

"For someone who cannot even take care of his child to send me pictures of him and his new wife wearing matching outfits is absurd. This man has hurt me and is still trying to hurt me. This is his fourth wife and I doubt if she knows his HIV status," said Mai Titi.

Although some blasted the comedian for airing her dirty laundry, many sympathised with her, among them Olinda Chapel who has also had a fair share of live burst-ups.

Speaking in an interview with The Herald Arts, Mai Titi said she had at once reached a point of thinking about suicide.

"I was really hurt. At some point I was actually thinking about committing suicide. I turned my sorrow into joy by doing comedy skits. I tried to keep on a brave face but at some point, you reach a breaking point and so I told myself that enough was enough," she said.

Mai Titi said she has not heard from her ex-husband since she exposed him to the world but is ready to face anything.

She added that she will be starting a campaign to reach out to women in abusive relationships and women living with HIV and encourage them to tell their stories.

Efforts to get a comment from the ex-husband were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.

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