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Real life Soweto love stories

Three couples spill the tea on how their journeys together began

Nombuso Kumalo Content Producer


Glen and Sizakele Molete have been married for 48 years, an example of best love for youth, during an interview with Sowetan Lifestyle team in Pimville , Soweto.
Glen and Sizakele Molete have been married for 48 years, an example of best love for youth, during an interview with Sowetan Lifestyle team in Pimville , Soweto.

Happy Valentine’s Day, SMaggers! 

Inspired by Netflix’s new romcom A Soweto Love Story, we played cupid to find the most romantic real-life love stories from the township.

Golden oldie

Softly chuckling in the background, Glen Molete spies on his wife of 48 years, Sizakele, from the corner of his left eye. Sitting upright in the reclining lounge chair, he rises to offer a more detailed version of how he met the love of his life.

I made sure I would arrive home early from Sekano-Ntoane Secondary School so I could watch her across the street from my grandmother’s front window, then again from the kitchen window. She was so beautiful. I was afraid of her,” Glen admits. 

The couple, both 71, have called Pimville home since 1984.

“I was in matric when he first showed interest in me and I remember how I didn’t like him. During that time, I didn’t have time for boys,” Sizakele remembers.

“Even when I began working at a bookshop in Joburg, I would often tell myself, ‘I’m working, I’m beautiful, I have money, I have electric and smart friends — what do I need a man for?’”

Glen was relentless in his pursuit and patiently studied his love interest. He drew close to her by learning her work commute, buying her pricey oxtail lunches, and knocking off work early so he could walk with her.

“One day, he decided to get off the train with me at my stop and walk with me. He wanted to see where I work. For my afternoon commute, I would move from Park Station to Braamfontein to convene with my friends and I would find him leaning on the wall of the bookshop wall waiting on me,” she says, shaking her head. 

His efforts eventually paid off. 

“When she said let's give it a try, I couldn’t sleep for the whole night. I told my family,” he says. 

“Our wedding day rejuvenated me to make sure that I do everything to the best to make sure I please my wife. Even now, when she says jump, I say how high because who is prepared to live e-hostela at my age,” says Glen.


The newlyweds

Themba and Lebakeng Msibi
Themba and Lebakeng Msibi
Image: supplied

“When I said my vows, I said ‘I, Themba Msibi…’, but when it was Lebakeng's turn he made sure he said my full name: ‘I take you, Themba Christopher Msibi…’” 

Themba Msibi, 33, remembers his wedding to Lebakeng like it was yesterday. 

When I asked him afterwards, he said I wanted to make sure that I commit to all of you. Not just one part,” he says gushingly.

Synchronised in laughter over Lebakeng’s romantic gesture, the Naledi natives tied the knot last September after being together for eight years.

Their love is that of the digital era and began with an inbox on Meta (formerly Facebook).

“I inboxed him on Meta on the July 26 2016, on his mother’s birthday,” Themba recounts.

“It was a simple greeting: ‘Hi, how are you? It’s Themba from Naledi. You look familiar, can I get to know you?’ I was trying to get his attention in any way possible.”

Lebakeng smoothly interjects, to reveal that he has the entire conversation archived.

“I initially thought he was one of those guys who would message you on Meta, make plans to meet, then disappear. But once we met, we clicked,” says Lebakeng. 

Exchanging heart emojiis for the real one, the couple soon shared their first date in-person with refreshing cold drinks and kotas from their hood, setting their kasi love story into full motion.

“Before we got married, I asked my family to represent me with navigating the same-sex lobola negotiations and the traditional aspect of it. My late uncle said to me, ‘Before you are queer, you are a person. As a family, we need to do things for you like we would for any other person’,” says Themba.

“That taught me how to navigate life — I'm a person with another person I love. We are people more than anything and our love is no different.”


High school sweethearts

Masechaba Kganyapa and Banele Swelinkomo
Masechaba Kganyapa and Banele Swelinkomo
Image: supplied

Opposites attract, as is the love story of high school sweethearts Masechaba Kganyapa, 26, and Banele Swelinkomo, 28.

Both residing in Dobsonville Gardens, Kganyapa was in grade 9 when Swelinkomo made his love intentions about her known.

We met in 2013 in our hood. He saw a beautiful hot girl, he courted me and I agreed. But because we were young and naive, we didn’t know ourselves yet,” she admits.

A sentiment Swelinkomo shares with her. 

In 2017, we broke up for about two years and got back together in 2019 in our first year of varsity and we have been together ever since.”

Their love sweetened during their varsity years.

“We never really had dates as we would normally meet up at the corner of streets,” says Kganyapa.

“I was attracted to her personality — generally I’m an introverted, so I’m quiet and shy. Whereas she lives life loudly and I love that. Over and above, she is beautiful,” says Swelinkomo. 

Kganyapa remembers how, for their first date, he took her to the movies, which she'd never experienced before.

“It was so sweet. He asked to bunk my first-year lectures.”

As working graduates, the couple had to navigate the intricacies of the workplace and parenthood as they also found out they were pregnant.

“We had just started out with new jobs, just out of varsity, when we fell pregnant with Oarona, our daughter. I had a rental apartment in Braamfontein and when we found out about the baby, he moved and we began to rent out the apartment together,” says Kganyapa.

Marriage is definitely on the cards for these two.

“We have been speaking about it since last year. When I fell pregnant, he said that now that there is a kid involved, he really wants to push for it. I’m ready for us to take this next step together,” says Kganyapa.

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