So for those of you who don’t know we have made it into the printed issue of the Marie Claire. Yippee! Besides the picture there was a couple of lines about what we had to say about being in a mixed race couple, which is only a few lines of quite a few questions that we were asked. So I thought I would put all our answers in here, in case anyone was interested…
How did you meet?
We first met at a youth camp and even barn-danced together, but we only officially met at church when I was 16 and Seth was 18. Seth sent me an anonymous sms about how “hot” I was and it progressed from there – oh the things you do as teenagers. Thankfully it got more serious than that and we dated for about 3 and a half years before we got married when I was 20 and Seth 22. Now almost 5 years on and 2 kids (and 2 dogs) to add to the mix – we are still going strong.
I first caught sight of Cindy at a youth camp. We had a moment where our eyes met and I gave her “the look”. Immediately I knew I had a chance. A few weeks later during church I smsed her (naughty naughty) and said “You look hot tonight”. She immediately found out it was me and after about a week of smsing, I went to go talk to her. A month later we were dating.What attracted you to your partner?
I noticed him around for about a year before we finally met, besides being incredibly handsome, he always seemed happy and fun to be with. Nothing has changed, the more I get to know him the more I love his slightly crazy humour.
Her Good looks:) She didn’t disapprove of ” the look” and she laughed at my jokes.What do you love most about your partner?
There are so many qualities that I value – his honesty, integrity, generosity, faithfulness, friendship, willingness to listen etc. But mostly that he shows me daily that he loves me and treats me like I’m the only woman in the world and that he is a fantastic, hands on father, who is actively involved in the lives of our kids and day to day happenings of our home.
There is a long list, but if I had to single out one thing I would have to say her enormous heart. Its amazing the amount of love she has for God, our daughters, her family and me. She is a supportive, encouraging and beautiful creature!You got married at a very young age… Why did you choose to get married so young? How does being married at such a young age influence your relationship?
We are both born again Christians, so living together outside of marriage was not an option for us. Besides that, I think we just knew that we didn’t want to ever be with anyone else, so why wait?! Getting married young has sometimes been difficult. Most people our age were partying and being crazy and couldn’t understand why we would get so serious so soon, we lost contact with a lot of our single friends. Other than that, we never really experienced “living alone” and so we had quite a few arguments over who was supposed to wash the dishes!
We chose to get married young for many reasons, some that are quite personal and some that are not. Mostly, we felt we were ready and knew that we wanted to spend our lives together. In our circles, young marriage isn’t taboo. There has been no negative effect to getting married young, if anything its been a huge blessing. We have experience adult hood and grown as adults together. We have had an early start in investing in our future and Lord willing, will retire quite young. Another reason for our success so far are the amazing role models we had in our parents. We have always had an understanding of what a good relationship is.
Was dating/marrying someone from another race ever an issue for you? If so, how did you over come it?
If not, why (i.e. you grew up in a liberal home; best friend is from another race etc)?
I never really had an issue with it at all – I hardly even noticed. My parents raised me to not be bothered by those types of things, they sent my brother and I to a multi-racial school and we had close friends of all races.
Both our parents are Christians so racism was always seen as a sin. We never grew up under any kind of racist doctrine. The first time I really experienced racism was when I was a teenager. My friends father didn’t want me hanging out with them because I was coloured. It was a very strange experience for me.
How did you friends and family respond to your relationship? Was the interracial aspect of it ever an issue for them?
How did their response make you feel?
I don’t think my friends or family ever had a problem with it, or if they did they never voiced it to me. My family were openly accepting of Seth and it was encouraging to know that they saw the qualities in him that I did, and weren’t phased by colour.
Most of my friends and family share the same beliefs, so it was never an issue.
How do strangers – people in malls, on the street, in restaurants – respond to you?
How does this make you feel?
Mostly we don’t have any problem with this anymore – I don’t know if it’s happening less or if we are just less bothered by it, although sometimes we still get people who look a little bit too long! I try not to think about it as it makes me angry that people can still be so pathetic, after everything SA has been through. There is more to a person than the colour of their skin.
We do get some lingering stares. We are not really offended by it, and often flaunt it to irritate some people. Recently we don’t know if the stares are racist or if it’s that we are too young to be married with 2 kids.Have you noticed a difference in how people from a different cities in SA respond to you – i.e. is there a difference in how people from Joburg, people from Cape Town and people from Durban look at/treat you?
I love Cape Town, people are so much more accepting, although crossing the “boerewors curtain” and going to some malls there (like Tygervally) we get far more looks. We went to Jeffery’s Bay when I was 7 months pregnant with our first daughter, and a woman walking past us sitting at a coffee shop, stared at us with such disdain all the way down the length of the walkway and all the way back. When she got near to the coffee shop, we were paying and I think she noticed my massive tummy, she amplified her look to disgust. Just to mess with her, we grabbed hands and kissed. She took her daughter and ran away.
There is a definite difference in Cape Town. We get more stares in the Northern suburbs than we do in the Southern suburbs. The only place that it was really pathetic was in Jeffery’s bay. An elderly woman made it very obvious that she disapproved. Cindy was 6 months pregnant at the time with our first daughter.Do you ever face any challenges as an interracial couple – like cultural and/or language differences?
How do you overcome these?
We are both from English speaking families, so language has never been an issue (unless Seth tries to speak Afrikaans – then no one can understand him). Culturally we are very similar too, although my family is very small and hardly ever see each other, Seth’s family is HUGE and they regularly have family functions. This was something that took me a while to get used to, but now I love these functions and really enjoy the big family vibe.
There isn’t any real major challenges. My family is not very different to Cindy’s. I also grew up in ‘white’ schools, so it’s pretty easy for me.
What are some of the exciting aspects being a part of an interracial couple?
We get to teach our children from first hand experience that it isn’t what people look like that matters, it’s what behave like that matters. Also I think mixed couples make the most beautiful children 😉
Having the most beautiful children.In your opinion, do you think people respond differently to interracial couples in SA since 1994? In what ways do you notice it?
Yes, people respond more favourably now – thank goodness. I often think that if we were born earlier we would never have been able to be together or have our gorgeous children.
There is a huge difference. I think it will be clear in both our responses that there isn’t much opposition. It’s almost a non issue with the younger generation, and I think the older generation are so exposed to it that they too are changing.