Pebetsi Matlaila, who plays Mokgadi on the SABC 1 educational drama Skeem Saam, has shared her story of being in an abusive marriage.
The actress and radio host also opened up about her near-death experience and suicidal thoughts on the Gamechangers podcast. Matlaila said that she and her ex-husband were married for less than a year and she had already noticed some warning signs before they got married.
“We were officially married for nine months, but we only dated for three months as boyfriend and girlfriend.
“Sadly, I knew the warning signs before I even married him. He had a problem with addiction.
“On top of that, he became very abusive when he drank alcohol. People think my marriage was a dream that turned into a nightmare, but it was a nightmare from the start,” she said. The Skeem Saam star said that she left her marriage when she was still pregnant with her youngest child.
At that time, the mother-of-two said she was depressed because she had no income as she was not working. Her mother helped her and supported her, but she still had suicidal thoughts. “My life was such a disaster that I remember thinking if I could kill these children without pain and then kill myself, then they wouldn’t have to deal with this.
“I felt like a failure as a mom. I felt like I had ruined my life so much that I had nothing to live for, and I remember telling my therapist that I was afraid of myself and that I might harm my kids because I had made such a mess of my life.” Matlaila also remembered “dying” for three minutes when she gave birth to her youngest daughter because of blood pressure issues.
“I remember struggling to breathe and I grabbed the scrubs of the nurse next to me and… and then everything went dark for me. I didn’t even know that I was dead, until my mom told me what happened later…”