Domestic violence: 9 African celebrity women who survived to tell the story

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Despite various efforts from different quarters to completely eliminate domestic violence, the practice is still rife in Africa.  The statistics are not very impressive and is some cases, the victims actually died leaving their children destitute which is very bad. However, in other instances, the women who have suffered domestic violence at the hands of their men have lived to tell the story, walked out the relationships and went on to make something out of their lives.

Domestic violence is not a preserve of women in a particular religion, tribe or nationality. Both the educated and uneducated women have suffered domestic violence as well. Women from all walks of life experience it every day, often with devastating effects. If you are experiencing domestic violence you should know that there is life after that devastating period of your life. Here are some African women, who survived domestic violence, shook dust from their clothes and went on with their lives,


  1. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Sirleaf Johnson is not a new name in Africa and she made the continent proud by becoming the first elected female head of state in Africa. She was the 24th President of Liberia since her election on 16th January 2006. Apart from this feather in her hat, Ellen was also a freedom fighter, banker, UN bureaucrat, rebel, farmer, and grandmother-in-chief.

Most people know about the above accolades but they do not know that Ellen, who graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics and public policy, also suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband. She was in her 20s and had just had four sons but she mustered the courage to walk away from the marriage and went back to school where got more feathers in her cap.



  1. Joyce Banda

 Joyce Banda also made history when she became the first female president of Malawi. Most people know her for the efforts she put into fighting for the empowerment of women. What most people do not know is that she suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband for ten years.

According to The Guardian, Banda was 22 years old when she wed her now ex-husband. Just as with many African women, Joyce finds herself in a patriarchal society that frowns on empowered women who have the guts to walk out of abusive marriages. Despite this, she walked out and go start a new life.


  1. Kelly Khumalo

Singer /actress Kelly Khumalo of South Africa was married to Kwaito star Molemo ‘Jub-Jub’  Maarohanye and it was reported in the Sowetan that the two were very abusive to each other. In one incident her husband hit her in the face; a blow that left a permanent mark on her face.

The actress has also spoken of how her husband used to abuse her for paying too much attention to her son. Khumalo has since risen above it and went on to become a strong advocate for women against abuse in 2014 when she spoke out about her own abusive past. Her husband is now a convicted murderer and rapist.


  1. Monalisa Chinda

Although now married to a good man known as Tonye Victor, famous Nollywood actress Monalisa Chinda also suffered abuse from her then husband. She revealed this in 2014 and added that it was the cause of the crashing of her first marriage.

  1. Tiwa Savage

Most people did not believe their ears when they heard that Tiwa Savage was having domestic issues that also included physical and emotional abuse. That was barely two years after her marriage to her husband tee Billz. She also revealed to the sock of many people that her husband had been beating her before their marriage as well. Tiwa managed to walk out of her marriage and is now doing well.

  1. Tonto Dikeh

Nollywood movie lovers are also familiar with the name of Tonto Dikeh who is a famous Nigerian actress. According to Dikeh, her husband Oladunni Churchill beat her several times during their marriage.

While speaking in an interview, the actress cried when she recalled how she was mercilessly battered by her husband. She explained that she stayed put in her marriage because she loved her husband. Although Churchill refuted the claims Tonto walked away from her marriage and got custody of their son.

  1. Letoya Makhene

‘Generations’ actress Letoya Makhene was married to Privilege Mangezi. The actress is now just speaking of her nine-year ordeal where she was physically assaulted. In an interview with True Love magazine, Makhene said she had to take care of the household and that made him very insecure. They began arguing, then things escalated to physical abuse. She ended up divorcing him and has said that their relationship worked out better when they were apart.

  1. Janet Wanja

Janet Wanja is a darling to Kenyans because of her prowess in netball. But despite being a rising star in her career, Janet was suffering on the inside. She met her boyfriend after high school but things started going south when she started making notable accomplishments in her life.

IN an interview with the Standard, Janet said that he had become very insecure and every simple argument they had turned into a physical confrontation that would leave her bleeding. In the interview, she narrated how her boyfriend beat her so badly just because of visiting her brother Kim.

During the incident he also broke glass, undressed her and dragged her over the shards of glass. Wanja could only find solace in alcohol also became suicidal. Wanja walked out of the relationship and managed to pick up the pieces of her life.

  1. Anne Kiguta

Celebrated TV news anchor Anne Kiguta is also a survivor of domestic violence. She was in a domestic relationship and was nursing a three years baby at that time. Her boyfriend used to batter her and this escalated when she was due for an interview at the Kenya Television Network (KTN). Thanks to makeup and some confidence, she managed to go to the interview where she was lucky to get the job.

According to her interview with the Standard, Anne said she had to move on for the sake of her baby and herself. Being financially independent, the move was not that difficult. Most women get trapped in abusive relationships because they do not have their own money.

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