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As tributes continue to pour in for the late Frances Awua-Kyerematen who reportedly died of Covid-19 over the weekend, a sneak peek into her life history will tell you that despite being a bubbly and fun-loving person, she had her own share of life challenges and adversity. She typifies the popular proverbial phrase that when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. As hundreds of friends  and family  from all over the world continue to mourn her, I reproduce an interview she granted the fabulous Woman Network in August 2016

 

NOW IT IS TIME TO DO ME!
An Interview with The Fabulous Frances Awua-Kyerematen, Yali West Africa RLC Participant Affairs Person
About me
Most people who know and see me out with my sisters and our ‘glamorous’ friends think I am as glamorous, but trust me I am the nerd of the group. I am a fun person but what I really call fun is to be at home with a good book and listen to Adele or classical, that is the true me. I come from the most supportive family; my parents have 11 children in all.
My life before marriage
My love life was not so great. I kept on being dumped by my then boyfriends because the girls they were seeing on the side usually got pregnant and they had to marry them. So I was a single girl building my career. I worked at Topshop (UK) for 3 years where I always won the customer service champion. And then at Anglogold for 6 years.
Why I got married
Once we visited some family members and one lady run to greet me thinking I was the mother of my two nieces. When I told her I was not their mother, she dropped her already extended hand (to greet me) and went looking for my sister, the girls’ mother. I stood there quietly looking on. When you’re unmarried, you don’t get to talk. You are shunned, you are not valued. No matter how old you are, if you have not been married before you are treated as a child. So why wouldn’t you be desperate?
At a point during a family gathering, I tried to talk to any of my 10 siblings, but I realized they were all busy with their spouses/children. I went to the bathroom and cried because, for the first time in my entire life, I felt so alone. I felt like everybody had accomplished something and I hadn’t. Instead of being grateful for what I had, I felt like I lacked something. After so many heartbreaks, I was tired and numb; I was ready to settle with anybody who wanted to settle at that time.
My aim was to get married so that I could get family members and friends off my back. Who or how I just didn’t care. I was almost 30 years when I met him. I was in Obuasi and he was in Accra but we used to spend time together on weekends. He was bent on marrying me. I didn’t question anything; all the red flags were oblivious to me.
I thought marriage was what was described in Mills & Boons! Look I need my refund from M&B! Haha. For him, he just wanted an ATM and I didn’t realize that until the day before our marriage ceremony. At that point I thought I couldn’t cancel because my whole family had made arrangements, some had bought tickets to fly over, others were driving over to Kumasi. My parents had spent so much because they were so happy.
He insisted we got married in Kumasi with the excuse that some of his family members were coming from the north so we should meet them halfway, and I thought it was a good idea. Apparently, he was running and hiding from his other women in Accra. I found out on my honeymoon. The marriage was doomed from the beginning. He told me a lot of lies including who he was and even his position at work.
Our honeymoon…
On my wedding night, I was so excited so I wanted to check Facebook (he had used my laptop and hadn’t logged off) and the first conversation I saw was from a woman ‘so you love me’. I curiously read the previous messages. To my amazement, when the woman inquired about his marriage to me he said it was an arrangement between his parents and mine. I cried! When he returned from the bathroom, I questioned him about it and that was when his real self came out. He was the nastiest monster I had ever seen in my entire life!
I couldn’t wait for the honeymoon to be over. I got sick during the honeymoon and I couldn’t walk. This man watched me literally crawl on the floor every time I had to use the bathroom.
After the honeymoon, I went back to Obuasi. Every time he came to visit me from Accra he brought his friends so there was no quality time between just the two of us. He couldn’t stand to be with me. When he was away, it was ok for him to talk to me. If he needed financial help, he would call me. I needed a husband, he needed an ATM, and he smelled my desperation. It was a beautiful combination for a disastrous marriage!
Our first Christmas
On Christmas eve, I saw a WhatsApp message pop on his phone ‘I have missed my period’ I immediately called and had a conversation with the woman. She wouldn’t tell me her name but she knew me. She said she came to my home every time I went away to Obuasi. She saw my clothes, shoes and everything in my closet! She told me she was sorry. She said she couldn’t keep the baby because she also had a boyfriend. And this was a time I was trying everything possible to get pregnant.
Hm! This man whom I literally had to beg him to sleep with me! Because of him, I lost my self-confidence, values, and self-worth, who I was I didn’t even know anymore. I didn’t confront him because I wanted to keep up appearances during Christmas. Then cleaning up our room one day, I saw ladies’ panties that were not mine. After Christmas, I asked him and he said he was sorry. I threatened to leave but it wasn’t much of a threat so I moved on.
It was one thing after the other, fasting, praying, cajoling him…it all didn’t work. At Obuasi on Friday nights, all the married ones would be waiting for their spouses. At the sound of every honk or car tyres screeching, I would look out the window hoping it was him but he never showed. So on Saturday mornings, I would pack all the food I had cooked into the car, drive off to Accra only to meet an empty house.
As if that was not enough…
This went on for years, it was one woman after the other. At one time, I saw a picture of a woman in our matrimonial bed on his phone. Women calling me to stop calling their boyfriends! My husband?! I had miscarriages a lot, I just couldn’t handle the stress.
My company went through retrenchment after which I was given a contract. At the end of the contract, I decided not to renew so that I could come to Accra to work on my marriage. I got the house we lived in (in Accra) by emptying my entire savings and borrowing money from my mother. Yet when I returned on that fateful day, all the locks had been changed and my personal effects had been packed. Somebody else lived in my house.
I broke down the door to meet a woman in my room. He came home, saw me, and walked right past me to the other woman asking her ‘did she hurt you?’ I was shocked! The woman had the audacity to tell me ‘this is not what is important, try having kids of your own’. And then he said, ‘yes try having kids of your own’. I was mortified! He knew what we had been through. And even at that point, if he had chosen me over the other woman, I would have stayed.
Finally, I found me…
How was I going to live in Accra without a job? I couldn’t go back to my mother’s house. I felt lost, every night I would cry but whiles I was crying I told God ‘You are the God of my salvation. You’ve never let me down. I know You will bring me to my expected end’ I also asked God to take care of him.
That was when I decided to find me. I rented a beautiful place with the little money I had. I signed up for a gym (I used to be a size 22/24) I worked out everyday. I actually became a size 16! I started feeling good about myself. Then I found a great job as a headmistress. From there, I told myself that it was going to be ok. The money wasn’t as good as Anglogold but I was grateful. At that time I had sent so many applications that when I got the call for an interview at Yali (Young African Leaders Initiative) Regional Leadership Center, I didn’t even know what that was! Haha. I had a great interview and then this job with Participants Affairs because of my personality and way with people. My first task was to bring 105 people from all over West Africa and I did that in two weeks! The participants came and the love was just amazing.
Now…
Beginning of this year, I told myself that ‘now it is time to do me!’ I have done everything my parents asked me to do, now it is time for me. Beginning this year I had a baby named after me in Nigeria by one of the participants. So I surprised her at the naming ceremony *smile*.
Last year, I was supposed to audition for Uncle Ebo Whyte’s play but I couldn’t. So this year, I did just that and got in! Uncle Ebo asked me if I regretted what happened in marriage and blamed myself (apparently, most women did). I told him no because looking back I did all I could to make the marriage work. At one point in the marriage, I actually prayed ‘God, if I have wronged You in anyway and this is my punishment, then please forgive me’. This is no way to pray. Then at a point I asked God for a divine escape from this marriage because it was my prison, my toughest battle. So yes, I told Uncle Ebo that I had been delivered.
Now I look forward to my Sunday rehearsals with Uncle Ebo Whyte’s Roverman team and it’s been amazing! Coupled with Yali. The house that I lost, now I’ve built my own and will be moving there in September. For the first time in my life, I am not making excuses for who I am. Now I feel beautiful! Now I am celebrated for the same things I was laughed at. Now, I know me and who I want to be with. I will not settle for just any man.
If anybody had told me it was like this, I would have taken my time. We should not be in a haste to look for marriage.
And oh, I took my much postponed holiday and I met a man who adores me… 😉
Source: The Fabulous Woman Network Facebook page
Interview conducted by Ama Duncan, Founder of The Fabulous Woman Network
This interview was sponsored by Corporate Training Solutions. Call us on 0244721062 for all your organizational training needs.
Disclaimer
While The Fabulous Woman Network strives to make the information on this page as accurate as possible, it makes no claims or endorsement of the accuracy of the contents of this interview and hereby expressly disclaims liability for any errors or inaccuracies contained therein.