When they met at a shop in 2007, both Ningie Mkhize (37) and Sbonelo Mchunu (45) lived in Mid-Illovo. Now Sbonelo lives in Umlazi.
Sbonelo recalls Ningie was with her sister at the time.
“So I spoke to her sister about my feelings for Ningie,” he says. “From there, I was able to set up a date so we could talk.
I always visited her and I’d walk for about an hour just to go and see her. I always had to wait a bit far from her home in the hope that they’d send her to the shops. If they didn’t send her to the shops, I would have to return home. We didn’t have phones. Sometimes I’d go see her and get there but they will tell me she is not home, and I’d have to walk back home. It wasn’t easy for us to meet because we didn’t have cell phones.”
Ningie explains it was difficult for her to leave the house to meet him. “My mum was very strict and she didn’t spare the rod. It wasn’t easy at all. He knew I was the one but it was difficult for us to see each other.”
What they both love about the other is the mutual respect they share. “Not only does she respect me but she respects my family too,” Sbonelo adds.
Ningie admits they can both get angry. He doesn’t like it when she doesn’t talk about her issues immediately and she doesn’t like that he asks the children to cook for him when he gets upset. Hearing this, he chuckles softly.
When Ningie went into labour in 2009, she had a few challenges resulting in their child having a problem with his spine so he is unable to sit.
“He couldn’t eat, he was fed through pipes. It was painful when we were still in hospital. I just couldn’t accept it. I don’t have a job because I have to take care of him. I just don’t see anyone else taking care of him the way I do. He needs me. It’s hard.”
Speaking about relationships, Sbonelo says it’s important to be patient with each other.
“We’d like other people to know that for a couple to get where we are today, they need to persevere. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have problems, but we knew what we wanted.”