Being a brother’s keeper, or destroyer: the Sylvester Story

I met my late husband, Sylvester Mumba in 2012 in Livingstone, Zambia when I went there on vacation. Sylvester used to sell things made from wood at a place called Mukuni park in Livingstone. He was a talented woodcarver, he used to make decorative crafts out of wood.

I got his phone number after I asked him to make a wooden map of United States of America with my names written on it. From that day, he became my friend, and we started communicating even when I came back to USA.

I was 23 years old and single when I met him, I just did not feel happy, I was basically lonely, and I would call Sylvester whenever I felt lonely. We would chat for hours non-stop. He spoke broken English, but I understood everything. He used to tell me that” we were meant to be because only I understood his bad English.” We then started dating six months later.

I saved up just enough working as a Host in at a Steakhouse, went to a travel agency booked a plane ticket and was off again to Zambia, but this time not to see the Victoria falls but to see Sylvester.

The ticket was $1,357 dollars at the time round trip. I stayed in Zambia for a month, and we quickly got married. Then after the wedding, I left him in Zambia. Back home in USA, I paid an Immigration lawyer to help me with visa paperwork for Sylvester. To make the long story short, Sylvester was given a green card and that’s how he came to USA in May 2013.

We did another wedding in USA. We were so Much in love. All was well in our marriage. I even helped him get a Job at Target Stores and helped him buy a car to ease his movements.

He slowly started adapting to the American culture and his English Improved. He also met some Zambians living in USA and together they became one family. As time went by, we started attending functions/parties organized by the Zambian community in USA.

I was even there in Tampa, Florida to support Zambia National Soccer Team when they took on Japan.


And after the soccer match there was a party where we interacted with the Soccer players and other people in attendance.

I have attended many independence functions organized by the Zambian community in Atlanta.

I started noticing one thing, the Zambians in USA like Gossiping and do not like to see their fellow Zambians (Friends) prosper in Life.

Sylvester’s Zambian friends, Women inclusive would call and tell me that Sylvester did not marry me because he loves me, but because of poverty and papers (Green card).

They would tell me that he was going round the Zambian community, telling people that he was just using me to become a US citizen and that he will leave me once he is given a green card valid for 10-years.

Some of his Male Friends would call me asking me to divorce him and marry them instead, and some would call asking me for sex. I did not care about what people were telling me. I loved him so much and he meant my world to me.

Up to date I do not understand why Zambians in diaspora are jealous of each other.

My stepsister is married to a Nigerian Man and The Nigerians are so supportive of each other.

Sylvester and I decided to isolate ourselves from all the Zambians in USA because their gossips started affecting our marriage.

We were happy once again until in June this year when Sylvester was arrested for being in possession of drugs. He went drinking with some of his trusted Zambian friends. After around midnight, they all decided to call it a day.

Sylvester was the only one driving, so he had to drop his friends at their various homes.

And after dropping his friends, on his way back home, he was stopped by a squad car (Police Car). His friends planted some drugs in his car and called the police.

And that’s how he was arrested in June and was deported back to Zambia Three weeks ago. I tried to fight his deportation for 4 months, but it couldn’t work out as you know our immigration laws are now tough because of our current president. People get deported for minor offences.

And the sad part is that his friends have been asking me to date them since the time he was detained.

Sylvester left USA three weeks ago and on Friday, he committed suicide.

Sylvester will be put to rest today the 29th of November at his parent’s village in Northern part of Zambia.

I am so heartbroken.

I am unable to travel to Zambia.

My prayers and thoughts are with his family.

Story narrated by spouse of the departed and reposted here to serve as a life-lesson.

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