From the outside, she looks like she has everything going for her — the looks, the height, the presence and a thriving career at Radio Maisha.
But behind that perfect image, is a story of a woman who has risen above the rubble of marital abuse.
Tinah (Christina) Korosso, in her magnanimous 6ft 2 inches frame, is a woman who has risen from the dust of marital abuse to the peak of radio success just within five years.
“I was only 27 at the time,” she says amidst stern silence.
She then composes herself as she clears off the tears with her index finger. “Many men had approached me for a relationship. I had turned down quite a number. Eventually, I made up my mind and chose him: he represented my dreams.”
He was calm and available when Tinah needed him. He showered her with overflowing attention and said nothing but sweet words that soothed even the roughest edges in her soul.
She had found her Mr Right. “He was a true gentleman. Even though we belonged to different religions, I was mesmerised by his charm. He was handsome too,” Tinah says of the man she fell head-over-heels for.
With a highflying career at Cloud FM, one of Tanzania’s best top rated radio stations, Tinah was a gem in the country’s entertainment industry. She was part of the contingent that represented Tanzania in the first season of Tusker Project Fame. She attracted glances everywhere she went, and even though she was engaged to a man she loved, she couldn’t do much to prevent showbiz Casanovas from hitting on her.
“This greatly irritated him,” Tinah recounts. “He never liked it that so many people called me, associated with me, or just wanted to socialise with me. I realised that he was very possessive and insecure.”
As the real man unravelled beneath the gentlemanly façade, Tinah began feeling weary about her choice.
However, equipped with an in-born charm, the man’s words of remorse and repentance pulled Tinah back faster than the speed of light — like nothing had happened. She would forgive and forget his misgivings.
It became an interesting cocktail of war and love. She kept assuring herself that the man would change as he had promised on numerous occasions.
CONVERTED TO ISLAM
“There was a time I broke off the relationship; but not for long. Later on, I thought to myself ‘no man is perfect’ — and we resumed dating.”
The Saturday of August 2, 2007 is still clear in Tinah’s mind. It was the day she committed her love and life to her prince charming against her parents’ wishes and against all odds.
“My parents were against me marrying a Muslim man,” she says, sodden with emotion. “None of them came to my wedding. My eldest brother swore that he wouldn’t bother to rescue me from an accident.”
Tinah’s pedigree as a Christian stood out. Having graduated from Rhema Bible Training College in Botswana with a diploma in Theology and Music, she had the mandate to shine in her faith — at least in the eyes of her mother and father. Tinah’s husband had convinced her to convert to Islam. To assure him of her commitment, she did.
The wedding day marked her first day as Mariam (no longer Christina). Sheepishly, she told herself that she would “change him with principles of Christianity and what my faith teaches.” However, the only thing that changed was that her marriage went from bad to worse.
Two weeks later after the wedding, Tinah discovered that she was pregnant. “I called my father and said: “Papa, there is no turning back now — I am pregnant. I enjoyed the happy moments at the start of my life as a wife. It was not long, though, before strife came between us and he went back to his possessive ways.”
Then he began abusing her. For four years, the abuse went on in intermittent fashion. In 2009, two years after her firstborn, Tinah was expectant with a baby boy.
Six months into her pregnancy, Tinah realised she couldn’t take it anymore.
“How long can a woman put up with a man who is never satisfied, no matter what you do?” she asks rhetorically. “I cooked, cleaned, washed and satisfied his needs in every way possible, but nothing was ever enough.”
She flew to Botswana, where her family lived, with her daughter and yet to be born son. Despite going against their wishes, her family received her at the airport.
Her husband sent emissaries to talk to him. He promised to change. Tinah would travel back with her daughter and son (who had been born by then) to “start afresh and hope for the best.”
Romance was reignited but only a few months slid off with relative peace.
“He started calling me names again. One time I arrived home late from work and he pounced on me with kicks and blows as my son and daughter watched. That was the time the scales fell off my eyes. It was the last straw,” Tinah laments.
She relocated with the children, but her husband later broke into her compound with a squadron of men and took the children.
“I chose the peaceful way out of it: letting him have them.”
Tinah has rediscovered who she was born to be. She says she is back to being a born again Christian. She went back to her family to ask for forgiveness and they received her with open arms.
In her graceful steps, with a demure smile, and short hair, she radiates with impeccable beauty. She is matching forward with her head held high despite the debauched marriage.
Blessed with an emollient voice and a talent to speak to people, every day she sits behind the microphone at Radio Maisha studios, she has only one objective: “to impact other people’s lives and make the world a better place.”
She has maintained once-a-month routine of visiting her son and daughter who her husband has refused to let go. The tears in her eyes have dried up. She raises her head and says with conviction: “I know God will give them back to me some day.”