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Love knows no boundaries

Simphiwe Khumalo and Riaan Bleedt's love is blooming.
Simphiwe Khumalo and Riaan Bleedt's love is blooming.

Riaan Bleedt and Simphiwe Khumalo are gay and come from completely different backgrounds.

Khumalo is from Ndebele roots and Bleedt an Afrikaner.

While their love was seen as a disappointment to many, they fought to stay together.

Bleedt, who fell in love with Khumalo's Facebook profile picture, proposed in 2017 and they were married last year. Their wedding was screened on Mzansi Magic's Our Perfect Wedding.

Bleedt says almost a year later, he is still as giddy as when he first set eyes on Khumalo.

"Although being gay is a big issue in the Afrikaans community, my folks accepted it. I was not a young man when I came out, so it was easy. But I knew that if I brought home a black man it would be havoc. But I simply had to get to know Simphiwe," says Bleedt.

But Simphiwe did everything in his power to get away from Bleedt. "First I ignored his messages on Facebook. I thought ... but what does this white guy want from me maan! He was persistent, so I engaged with him.

"I thought, let me invite him to my village and scare him off by taking him to dodgy places like the taverns and clubs around. To my shock, he loved it. He wanted to come back for another visit," Khumalo laughs.

Khumalo lied to his family, stating Bleedt was his manager at work. On their second outing, Khumalo realised Bleedt was serious about him and let go of his inhibitions.

Soon he moved into Bleedt's home in Machadodorp, Mpumalanga. Bleedt says his father was furious with him and opted not to attend the Ndebele wedding. The couple says so many outsiders, including ministers, were against their interracial and same-sex union.

"We were stuck with no one wanting to bless our marriage. That's when I called on pastor Enoch Kolobe - my dad's friend. He wasn't going to judge us," says Khumalo.

Kolobe, 58, is married to three gay men, and has 20 children of mixed sexuality from previous marriages with women. He is also a traditional healer.

Bleedt says his father has however finally come around to accepting his choices. "He realised that we will never separate - even if I am black. Shoo! It's better now, back then it was hell ," says Khumalo.

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