THE episode on Talking with the Thabas about in-laws is not to be missed. So many martial problems start with the issue of getting along with the in-laws. In this episode, we shared our story of a rocky start which has ended in a wonderful relationship with my parents in-laws.
They didn’t want Percy to marry me due to the fact that I was white. We laugh now but they said that only worked for the first President of Botswana, the late Seretse Khama, and his white wife, Ruth Williams Khama. It would not work for the Kalanga family of the Thabas! Haha!
We have now been married for 16 years and enjoy an amazing relationship with his parents, but this show outlines the journey we took to get to that kind of love and acceptance.
I thought as a fun treat I would give you a little peek into how this relationship got started for my African husband and me, the white American wife. This is an excerpt from our marriage book, which can be downloaded from our website.
I moved to Francistown Botswana in August 2000. I was working with the Baptist church as a missionary. My job was to work with the youth of Botswana, instilling character values. To that end, I volunteered in all of the government junior and senior secondary schools in the city every single week day.
One of the girls that I used to teach in the schools was Percy’s sister. Percy had become a Christian and began attending the church years earlier. His parents were not followers of Jesus nor attending church at the time, but before Percy left for university, he had invited his sister and brother to attend.
Even in his absence, they both continued to go to church that I was volunteering with. They also lived close by, so many times on my way to various church meetings, I would volunteer to pick them up to help them save their public transport costs.
Percy’s mom was grateful for the kindness I showed her children. Finding out I lived alone, she told me if I ever wanted a prepared meal, I could tell their house helper when I collected the kids that when we returned from church, I would like her to dish a plate of food for me.
As a single lady living alone in a foreign country, meals were lonely. Cooking an entire meal and sitting down in silence by myself to eat felt depressing!
Therefore, many nights I took her up on this offer. I would come in, get my plate of food and sit and chat or watch television with them. I became like an adopted member of the family and was very comfortable going in and out of their house as if it were my own home.
There were even times I would come to my house and find out thieves had been there. Percy’s father was a police officer, so I would run to their house.
Percy’s mom would offer the bedroom of her son, Percy, who was away at university to sleep in for the night until I felt safe to return to my home! Imagine! Who knew I was sleeping in the bed of my future husband and had never even met him!
On May 12, 2001, I was out exercising. God usually speaks to me by giving me an idea that I can’t get out of my mind. When I think of the idea, God fills me with this sense of peace that lets me know this is the next step I should take.
At that point, I had been listening to God’s voice through these directing thoughts as well as through obedience to the Bible for 14 years, because I had become a Christian and chosen to follow Jesus at age nine. I knew His voice. That day, what I heard scared me!
Out of nowhere, I distinctly had this thought, “You will marry Percy Thaba.” Remember I had never met him. Additionally, where I come from in America, at that time, was still very racially separated.
Blacks live on another side of town than whites. I had never even observed an interracial couple growing up in South Georgia.
I honestly just saw myself as a missionary there to serve, but I wasn’t going to marry an African man! Surely God had dialed the wrong number!!!! Or maybe was this a voice from satan?
The Bible says that we should flee temptation. Maybe this was a thought put in my mind to distract me and get my attention off the good I was doing helping youth walk in purity and integrity. Despite my attempts to think of Bible verses or worship songs to push out the invading voice, the thought continued to pop up on the screen of my mind, “You will marry Percy Thaba.”
As I ran, God and I talked. Giving into the fact that this might be a message from above, I asked several questions of how this would work out. The more I processed my fears, I realised that one of my greatest apprehensions was wondering what others would say if I married a black African man. The voice continued, “This is the best I have.”
Doubtful, but willing to trust in God’s best, I asked him to prove it. It was Saturday. Youth group started in a couple of hours. At church, a taxi pulled up. A young man got out of the taxi and youth started crowding around him. “Percy! My man! You are home from university for the long winter break!”
You will need to read the book or watch the show to hear how the story turns out! The book and the episode are available on our website, www.ashleythaba.com