TWELVE YEARS after their break-up and despite the fact that they are "happily married" to other people, former world boxing champ Dingaan Thobela says he still loves Basetsana Khumalo.
In an interview with Sowetan yesterday ahead of the launch of his book Rose of Soweto: The Dingaan Thobela Story laterthis month,Thobela said the former beauty queen would always have a special place in his heart.
"Though I have moved on my heart is still with her. But I am very happy where I am. It is hard to get her out of my mind. I made a lot of contribution to what she is today," he said.
Asked to comment Khumalo said she was not interested in the book.
Khumalo is married to Vodacom executive Romeo Khumalo.
Thobela and a 16-year-old Basetsana Makgalemele started dating in 1990. She won Miss SA in 1994 and they broke up three years later.
The former World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation lightweight and World Boxing Council supermiddle weight champion writes in detail about their relationship.
In his biography by Deon Potgieter, he confirms their vat en sit, which her parents denied ever happened in a magazine interview. He says he felt betrayed by the denial.
What he doesn't say, though, is that Bassie was only 16 when they started going out in 1990. He was 28.
Thobela is now married to Sandra, a Mozambican beauty.
"I respected her parents even though they were saying I was a liar and that I was insulting the Tswana nation (by saying I stayed with her)," he writes. "I decided to let it go and let it die and that's what happened. In time it died. We both started new lives and moved on."
The book will be launched on Tuesday.