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Johannesburg - In an age where love can be bought, quickie weddings are as easy to arrange as quickie divorces, and lovers’ spats constantly make headlines, it’s refreshing to know that there are still many examples of true love among South Africa’s celebrities.
Topping the list, and perhaps an inspiration to many, are Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah. Before turning to theology, Tutu followed in his father’s footsteps and studied teaching at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College, where he met Leah, a fellow student.
The couple were college sweethearts in the early 1950s, and married on July 2, 1955. Tutu later became the first black Archbishop of Cape Town, and achieved global status as an anti-apartheid activist. Leah was always at his side, supporting her husband in his work and causes.
They celebrate their 58th anniversary this year, but even after all this time, the two can still be seen looking at each other lovingly.
When thinking about lasting love, Letta Mbulu, 70, and Caiphus Semenya, 73, also come to mind. They have been married for 46 years and met while performing in the King Kong musical.
Both loved jazz and, while exiled in the US during the 1960s, worked with Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. Interviewed by nubianbride.co.za, Semenya said the secret to a lasting marriage was in the fundamentals. He warned that marriages based on money, looks or career advancement never worked, and added that on stage they were artists, not husband and wife.
Top Billing presenter and doctor Michael Mol and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for 18 years and the high school sweethearts have three children. His wife still sings his praises. “To be unconditionally loved by Michael is awesome, but what is even more mind-blowing is that he unconditionally likes me, and that makes me feel priceless.”
Soapie actors Connie and Shona Ferguson celebrate their 12th anniversary on November 30. Connie, best known for her role in Generations, and Shona, who acted in Scandal, eventually worked together on The Wild, now on M-Net.
They met when Shona dropped some people off at Connie’s house. He says it was love at first sight. They dated for two months and were engaged for six before they married. The couple, as in love as ever, renewed their vows on their 10th wedding anniversary.
Idols judge and radio personality Unathi and Thomas “Bad Boy T” Msengana have been together for more than a decade. The pair worked as radio DJs in the same building, bumped into each other at work and the rest is history. They have a 13-year-old son and a year-old daughter, and were married in 2009. Unathi has described her husband as her best friend and the one person who can calm her down.
Funny man Marc Lottering has had audiences in stitches for years with his portrayal of old married couples, but Lottering is very private about his love life. It is known that he and his partner, Anwar McKay, were together for 10 years before they tied the knot in January 2010.
And one couple who prove that age doesn’t matter when it comes to finding love are Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel.
Machel, widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel, met Mandela soon after he was released from prison. At the time, Mandela was estranged from his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, whom he divorced in 1996.
Mandela married Machel on his 80th birthday in 1998 and 2 000 guests attended the combined birthday party and wedding reception. While Mandela is frail and no longer makes public appearances, Machel – 27 years his junior – still advocates for women and children’s rights. They celebrate their 15th anniversary this year. – The Star