Love is blind: Francis Duma with the love of his life, Gcwalisile. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi
Durban - When Francis Duma, 50, heard Gcwalasile Dumakude, 49, he fell in love with her.

The couple, who first met in 2012 at the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, will celebrate their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple this month. Their story is about a deep and enduring connection made after many years of being alone.

Duma, from Bulwer, has been blind since birth. When he attended computer classes at the society’s centre in Durban, he heard Gcwalasile’s voice while she was teaching a braille class.

“I knew in my heart she was the one. She was going to be my wife,” said Francis this week.

While it was her gentle voice that fired Cupid’s arrow directly into his heart, it was also her art of conversation that kept him captivated.

“I listened to the things she was speaking about. Even though I cannot see her, I know she is beautiful, but even more important she has a beautiful heart,” he said.

But it was not all smooth sailing: as the romance got under way, Gcwalasile, who is partially blind, took her time to check out everything about her new man.

“It went on for a whole year, my sister helped me to find out where he came from and if he has a good family. In that time, he kept calling me. I found out he was very diligent, he has a lot of respect and doesn’t take me lightly. He’s always joking and I’m talkative and I think he’s very handsome,” said Gcwalasile.

The couple, who are devout Christians, were soon spending more and more time together at work and a year ago, on February 6, Francis said lobolo negotiations were completed and their wedding date was set for September 3.

It was a day neither of them will ever forget. Because their income is limited, church members paid for the bridal gown, venue and catering.

“God made a miracle for us. It was like heaven opened for me that day,” said Gcwalasile, while Francis said, “I could hardly believe it was really happening, I even tried pinching myself.”

Having moved to Ntuzuma, Francis and Gcwalasile now travel to work together and are happily settling into married life.

“I believe the foundation of marriage is respect and trust, that is the way to find happiness and I am going to take good care of this marriage,” said Francis, while Gcwalasile said: “The best thing about being married is having someone you love next to you, knowing you can always lean on that person.”

According to Francis, his new wife is a good cook, often serving up his favourite beef curry, phutu and dumplings, while he enjoys taking her out to tea at the weekend.

“I think it’s important for people to know disabled people have exactly the same feelings as everyone else out there and we all need love,” he said.

The director at the KZN Blind and Deaf Society, Shamila Surjoo, said there was “delighted surprise” when the couple announced they were getting married.

“Being disabled can be a lonely world, so if someone with a disability finds a life partner it is very meaningful. They are both such good people. Gcwalasile is a caring and loving person, while Francis is a good role model, everyone looks up to him at the centre. He respects others and has such a positive outlook,” said Surjoo.

* The KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society is hosting a Valentine’s dinner and dance on Saturday, February 11 at the Elangeni Hotel at 6pm. Tickets are R500 a person or R5000 for a table of 10, which includes a three-course meal, music and lucky draw prizes. To book, contact 083 775 4991 or email [email protected]