Love stories are about encounters, dreams and fantasies. While they reflect the structure of South African society – inequality, xenophobia, prejudice and precarious lives – love sometimes challenges these structures: individuals stand against injustice, fight assumptions, overcome barriers. These stories are also about migrant lives – the fragility linked to mobility and survival; concerns about documents and legalisation; differences in language, culture and expected gender roles. They are also about the beauty of encounters, strokes of luck or chance, amidst these complexities. These stories are about hope.
In order to capture them, the authors chose to interview lovers individually, in order to understand their rationale and how individuals recall their own story of the making of their couple. The authors also accompanied each person for a photography session on the sites that meant the most for the unfolding of their love story.
BORN: Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 1982
ARRIVED IN YEOVILLE: 2005
PROFESSION: Spaza owner
BORN: Eastern Cape (South Africa), 1975
ARRIVED IN YEOVILLE: 2004
FAMILY STATUS: Engaged, one child
MET: At Hillbrow Hospital in 2006
LIVE: Berea, in a 3-bedroomed flat (two rooms are sublet, shop on the ground floor)
How we met
I met Thumi at Hillbrow Hospital in 2006. I had been attacked by tsotsis on my way to work. When I got into the hospital, the queue was long. Thumi was treated before me. When she came out, I was still standing in the queue, unattended. I was bleeding. All the nurses were there; no one had even approached me. She went to them and pleaded them to attend to me. When I came out, I saw her sitting there; I didn't know that she had been waiting for me. I went to thank her. We started walking together, chatting. While we were walking, I told her to come with me to my place in Yeoville, where I was sharing the room with two other friends. My friends were surprised to see me with a beautiful lady and they were calling her mundele [white] because of her skin complexion. Since that time we started dating and visiting each other. We would go to Yeoville KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] because she loves that cuisine.