Picture for Illustration: A woman adds a love message written on a small chocolate heart to a large heart-shaped chocolate piece made in Romania, ahead of Saint Valentine's Day.

Durban - With shops packed with Teddy bears, lingerie and red roses, the hearts of lovers around the world are turning to romance this Valentine’s Day - but it seems there are more lonely hearts than couples in KwaZulu-Natal, with hundreds of singletons still looking for “the one” before February 14.

Last week, East Coast Radio offered a matchmaking service - and the response was overwhelming.

“We received hundreds of SMSes, tweets and e-mails,” said East Coast Radio correspondent Terence Pillay. “Everybody wants to find their Prince Charming,” he said.

Pillay calls himself an expert matchmaker and is looking forward to helping people find love.

“Most people have just never met the right person. There are lots of lonely people ahead of Valentine’s Day.”

The Sunday Tribune caught up with a few singletons who will be spending Valentine’s Day alone.

“I will be at work on Valentine’s Day, trying very hard not to be annoyed by the other girls getting flowers and gifts from their guys.

“But I’m not sad or anything. I choose to be single because I don’t want to date someone just so I don’t feel small in a crowd of other girls. I don’t feel small, I’m perfectly happy. So I will face the pink mugs and Teddy bears with grace,” said 22-year-old Bongi Sithole.

Keegan Naidoo, 29, has been looking for love on an online dating site for the past year.

He said: “Being single is not the end of the world, but I would definitely like a partner. I’ve been single for almost six years and I didn’t want to have another lonely Valentine’s Day. I plan to go to work and then treat myself to a movie.”

Naidoo won’t be the only one treating himself - Duduzile Zwane, 23, has been single for two years and she will be buying herself a new pair of shoes.

Other singles are thinking bigger. Victoria Green, 51, plans to throw an anti-Valentine’s Day party.

“When you are over 40 and single, it is a problem. This year I won’t have it. I am completely against Valentine’s Day this year and instead of sitting and moping around like I usually do, I am going to have a good time.” - Sundat Tribune