A UNIQUE Pietermaritzburg couple shared their wedding with the viewers of Mzansi Magic’s wedding show, Our Perfect Wedding.
The wedding of Bathabile nee Mhlongo, who owns a company dealing with branding and information technology, and Dhiren Amirchand, a sales consultant at Valverite.
The couple has been dating for five years and have a two-year-old daughter together, Keerthi Nongcebo Amirchand.
For the couple it was love at first sight.
“We met at a function at Alexandra Park and it started drizzling, so they moved it to a house in Napierville,” said Bathabile.
“When we got there, there was a soccer game on TV and I’ve never been a soccer fan and it turned out neither was he. That was when he approached me and we clicked immediately,” she said.
The couple said they had never been “opened-minded” when it comes to cross-culture relationships, “but once we started talking it wasn’t an issue, and we just saw each other as people, just normal people,” said Dhiren.
“My family had mixed reactions towards our relationship,” said Bathabile.
“Some were happy, including my father, but some were not happy, especially my mother, because I remember her saying, ‘Couldn’t you pick your own kind?’. It is funny how people still get so perplexed by cross-racial couples in 2015,” she said.
“The only mixed-race couples people seem to be comfortable seeing together is any race with a white person. The minute you marry an Indian or a foreigner then it’s frowned upon,” Bathabile added.
“This reminds me of when he came with his family to pay lobola and give my family gifts [izibizo]. Someone said flat out, ‘You invited us here to come and meet our future in-laws and celebrate the union of the two families, but it seems like you forgot to tell us they are not from our [Zulu]culture’.”
Despite having to explain themselves to people, the couple seemed very happy and comfortable with each other.
“The reason why we invited Our Perfect Wedding is because I am a big fan of the show but most importantly, I wanted to show people that anything is possible if you believe in it,” said Bathabile.
“We will be having two ceremonies, the white wedding and the Hindu wedding. We had a few clashes along the way just like any other normal couple, but we supported each other and tried to solve whatever issue we had. We even managed to compromise on each other’s values and beliefs.”
Dhiren said for the negotiation process he had two of his close African friends explain what happens.
“They handled the whole process for me. It all went well as my father-in-law was very understanding because this was all new to me and I didn’t fully understand what was meant to take place.
“My family was very understanding and respectful of my choice and accepted it as Bathabile, Thaby as I would call her, is the person who makes me happy,” he added.
A very close friend of Bathabile’s, Vincent Yawu, could not hide his excitement for the couple. He said he had approached her at the party the couple met at and pointing towards Dhiren, had said, “Friend, that guy would be perfect for you”.
“She said, “Who, the Indian guy?” and laughed.
“These two made me believe in love at first sight again. The way they are now is the same way they were when they first met.
“One would swear they had known each other for years on that day. Just being around them, because we spent a lot of time together, brings tears to my eyes. I have never seen a love so strong and so perfect,” said Yawu.