Wedding Album | Act of chivalry fanned flames of love
Tlhalefang Gaborone, aged 33, was only 15 when she met the gentleman who would one day be her life partner, Tebogo Gaborone.
Tebogo, 36, "saved" the then 15-year-old from notorious thugs near her home in Mahikeng, North West.
"Our families were friends and neighbours when we were young but we didn't play together. When I turned 11, my family moved. Fast forward four years later, he offered to carry my school bag and help me cross the road without being harassed by notorious boys not far from my grandparents' home. I didn't know him but he knew me," she says.
Tlhalefang says she was visiting her grandfather on the day - not knowing it would be the last time she would see him alive, as he later died after her visit.
But she found solace in the fact that she had met her best friend who is now her husband and the father of her children.
She says they officially started dating on her 16th birthday. Tlhalefang says she knew they were much more than a fling when she received a bursary in her matric year to study in Durban the following year.
"He thought I would leave him... but I didn't. We had a long-distance relationship for 12 months until he decided to join me the following year. The 12-month long-distance relationship was interesting as he'd come and visit me when we had term breaks."
He popped the question on her 25th birthday.
"After having spent the whole day looking for the perfect engagement ring with his sister, who was in on his plans to make me his wife, he asked me to marry him.
"Looking back, I remember that I had always mentioned that I wanted to get engaged at 25," says Tlhalefang.
The couple, who celebrated their sixth anniversary last weekend, were married in a a "beautiful yet symbolic" Christian ceremony in Mahikeng on September 22 2012.
"My father handed me over to my husband. Most of our neighbours, colleagues, friends and family members were present, celebrating the day with us. I wanted a simple dress and my husband wanted to please me. I finally found my simple dress, an ivory white strapless and slimline Oleg Cassini dress made from tulle and sequins."
The couple have two children, a girl of three and a little boy of eight months.
"Our little family is complete. Now we chart a new chapter filled with nothing but priceless memories for our children."
Tlhalefang recalls how the two have walked through life by each other's side through various stages, from being high school sweethearts to making it through varsity, landing their first jobs, moving in together as young adults and ultimately buying their first home.
"Trust me, this side-by-side masphathisane came with its fair [share of] challenges as we grew as a couple. Yet to this day... I would never have changed anything. I would do it a 1000 times, again and again, and still stand by our love story ... I would still choose us."