Rene Speelman, 40, of Korsten, Port Elizabeth, said she was obtaining a protection order against her husband but in May the abuse to which she said she had been subjected had worsened to the extent that she retaliated and in doing so killed him.
Speelman said her husband had assaulted her several times.
She admitted that she did not act as a reasonable person might have in such a situation.
But on Friday, the Port Elizabeth Regional Court, satisfied that she had acted in self-defence, convicted her of culpable homicide.
In her guilty plea, Speelman told the court that she was at home with her three children on May 19 when her husband, Edwin, 41, returned home from a tavern.
She said he was drunk and in a “terrible mood”.
“He was aggressive and accused me of being unfaithful to him.”
Speelman said she told him that he was being unreasonable and that he should go to bed.
She said he went to the bedroom and returned to the living room carrying a screwdriver. He went back to the bedroom. When he returned he was carrying a hammer and attacked her.
A scuffle ensued and the hammer was flung into the doorway of a nearby room.
“He began strangling me … My daughter tried to intervene,” she said. “He let go of me. I felt faint. But he grabbed me again and banged my head against the wall. I fell and he began slapping me in the face.”
She said she shouted to her daughter to call the neighbours because she feared for her life.
Speelman said she pushed him away and he fell against the fridge.
“I grabbed a knife from the counter where I had earlier been cutting meat and I stabbed him. He became weak and fell over.”
She said she stabbed him four times.
Speelman is out on bail.