Five years ago, they made history by becoming the first lesbian couple to get married under South Africa’s new same-sex union legislation.

At the same time, they also apparently became the first Muslim lesbians in the world to get married.

Now Sadia Kruger, 53, and Zukayna Leonard, 36, are ready to take the next big step – the couple plan to get married by Islamic rites to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

“We are both born Muslim, this will be a blessing,” says Sadia.

The Delft couple got married during a civil ceremony at the Department of Home Affairs in Mitchell’s Plain in February 2007.

But Zukayna says it’s always been a dream of hers to have a traditional wedding.

“It’s been my dream to get married in a midorah [gold-stitched headscarf] and I’m going to do it,” she says.

 

Sadia explains they have approached The Inner Circle, an international human rights organisation based in Wynberg, which deals with Islam, gender and sexual diversity.

Director Imam Muhsin Hendricks says Sadia and Zukayna would be the eighth gay couple to be married at the centre.

As the “only” Muslim cleric in South Africa willing to marry homosexuals, the openly gay Hendricks has already entered seven couples into holy matrimony.

“Quite a large number of queer couples believe that marriage is an institution and that commitment supersedes this institution,” he says.

“They also believe that the concept of marriage is riddled with religious and patriarchal underpinnings.

“Hence many who do have a formal ceremony prefer to call it a spiritual union, commitment ceremony or a blessing.

 

“There is no dowry system, but we do encourage the exchange of gifts.

“The marriage follows the essential pillars of an Islamic marriage such as the Ijab [someone requesting] and Qabul [someone accepting] and the two witnesses.”

Zukayna and Sadia met 20 years ago when Sadia, a taxi operator, was driving Zukayna and a group of school friends from Manenberg to the beach.

The happy couple lived together for 14 years before getting married.

Sadia says the past five years have been bliss.

“Our friends ask, ‘Are you two not yet bored of each other after almost 20 years?’ But if you love one another, how can there be a problem?”

Zukayna, a manager at a popular eatery in Cavendish Square, attributes their happiness to communication and to the fact that they are both female.

“If the communication is open and flowing, you won’t have any problems,” she says.

“And then of course there is the big one – compromise, it’s a give and take situation.”

While their families have accepted their lifestyle, Zukayna said they had made peace with homophobes “out there” a long time ago.

“If people ask me [about my lifestyle], I’m honest, but I’ve learnt not to bring religion into it,” Zukayna adds.

“I really don’t care what people say. It’s my life, and I’m living it.” - Daily Voice