I met my husband, Itumeleng at a popular pub and restaurant in Melville called Liberation Cafe in 2016. I was a second-year law student at the University of the Witwatersrand and I decided to work part-time. On Sundays, the pub would host Karaoke Night and I would MC. Part of my job was to interact with people – and one of the topics we discussed one particular night was about cars, only to discover that we are both car fanatics and we hit it off from there. He offered to drop me home and the rest is history.
The Kingdom of Eswatini takes pride in its traditions. First, there was Kucela – which is an intention to propose. Due to COVID-19 strict regulations, his family did not cross the border to meet, however, with the guide of my family, one cow was given to the Masuku family and the negotiations proceeded. There were further postponements because of the lockdown, but in March 2021, both families met in Eswatini. The negotiators finalised the lobola and two cows were presented – one for the mother of the bride and another one to be slaughtered. The total number of cows is not meant to be paid as a once-off, so half was paid and the other half according to the discussions that had taken place. Once this is complete, gifts in the form of blankets were given to my aunts from my father’s side of the family as well as my mother.
Marriage is a huge step. I cannot put a time to when I wanted marriage, I just knew that I want him to be my life partner. I genuinely couldn’t imagine life without him in the picture. It’s like a Cinderella shoe – it fits perfectly. I am more eager about marriage and the idea of being a wife because both of us wanted to get married – we were on the same page. We were making decisions about settling in South Africa, completing school, and buying a house. We did it together.
We were able to invest the time in attending pre-marital counseling which I believe is extremely important. It won’t tell you how to ‘practice’ being husband and wife or giving you all the answers, but it shows you and your partner real expectations on marriage and somewhat being on the same page with one another. I speak for myself when I say that the planning process allowed us to understand the importance of matrimonial property regimes in South Africa and Eswatini. We needed to do that! Finally, we just grew close and started speaking positively about marriage and bringing families together. We both know that marriage is bigger than us, but God knew exactly what he was doing when he brought us together.
When I got engaged, my mom told me that marriage is the work of God but the devil wants to see it collapse before the ceremonies. You need to pray and be specific in your prayer, not for the day to go well, but for the families to work together, for the protection and success of the marriage as a whole. It’s really important. One thing, I’ve taken from this experience is that God will never give you a task that is too difficult for you to handle, His plans always help you to you succeed.
You need to have a support group. One thing, I am truly grateful for was the bridesmaids and groomsmen. They were so supportive and took on so much responsibility. I think it’s important to highlight how that eases the stress on the bride and groom. Pick your bridal party strategically because you need helping hands to delegate tasks and lighten the load. The last lesson I would say is intention. For plans to go through successfully, one needs to be calculated in their decisions and conscious of each another. It’s a marriage, there’s no room for selfishness. It starts from the moment you intentionally agree to be with someone you love forever. I knew that a lot of things had to be planned with knowing and respecting families and not necessarily ignoring what your partner wants. I know my husband and I have the same view on this one.
My favourite part of the wedding was the last day. We had a short church service to give thanks and it was the first time both families were together. To me, it is as if our relationship had come full circle, families are brought together because of two people that love each other. It so overwhelming because at that moment – love brought us together. I felt loved.
After the proposal or when the family has come together like our love story – I think it is important to starting during extensive research! It’s not about the wedding, there’s much more to that. The first place to start, after all, your research is done is pre-marital counseling, it provides a healthy environment for the couple to have open conversations about your own opinions and expectations on marriage. Normally is between 3-6 months so it is a great step to learn from other couples, seek more guidance from your spiritual leaders and have uncomfortable conversations (if any) with your partner. It’s important to have the family involved as respect, but this is your life with your partner. It’s important to make decisions together about everything – even the size of the cake! After all, it’s the two of you after the wedding, and outfit changes are done.
I know I am raving so much about pre-marital counseling, but that helped us adjust perfectly. We both know our roles and loving each other intensively makes it all the better. We look forward to each other’s company – he’s my best friend so, there’s a mixture of companionship and love as husband and wife. Being together is awesome. I know we’re both looking forwards to having new friends and creating bonds with friends we knew from when we were dating.