Fred and Tina Eboka
Counting Graca Machel and first lady Dr. Tshepo Motsepe among his clients, Nigerian-born fashion designer Fred and his wife Tina Eboka, group MD of NTP Radioisotopes have been married for 32 years, after meeting as students in Philadelphia in the US. They share with us how they've stoked the romantic embers of their long-lasting union.
How did you two meet?
Fred: At the time we were both studying in Pennsylvania, in the United States. The first time we met was at a traffic light in 1984. Tina was waiting to cross and I was in a car waiting for the green light. I got out of the car and ran after her but she wouldn't give me her name or number.
Tina: I didn't give him any details but I kept wondering if I would meet him again. As luck would have it I did; it turned out he lived in an apartment directly below mine. So one lucky evening about three months later we ran into each other again on the staircase of the building. We've been together ever since.
How did you balance your careers with raising a family?
Fred: When Elu, our eldest was born we knew we would need support from family and that's one of the reasons we left America and relocated to Cape Town. This allowed us to start our careers all over again but we also learned to balance work and family life. Tina's work requires a lot of travel, which meant I was the constant parent at home with the children, with the support of a nanny and an au pair.
Tina: When we had Tinuke six years after Elu we truly relied on each other and the people we hired to help. Fred got to spend more time with the children and I guess that is why our daughter is also in the fashion industry and our son is in the creative industry.
What is your most important code to live by to ensure you have a stable and harmonious union?
Fred and Tina: We share a lot – our values and the love of our families, the respect for individuality within the union and prioritising our family before all else. We're united in love and marriage, but give each other space and support to pursue our dreams.
Do you have advice for couples about coping with hard times during a marriage – can you share a challenge that you overcame as a couple, and how?
Tina: Losing our parents were hard – because of the grief, but also because we come from different backgrounds and the customary traditions are not the same. We talk to each other and share what the expectations are from both sides. Open and honest communication about your feelings and fears is very important.
Fred: I found that the most challenging moments arose from cultural differences when we moved to South Africa after we got married. Communication has been essential.
Bontle: Relationships are in essence multilayered and multifaceted in their dynamics, so you can never stop learning, realising the new, doing away with the old that isn't necessary
Bontle and Richardo Moloi
Theirs is a love which has grown from a teenage dalliance to a mature love affair. The first time rapper and musician Richardo (Priddy Ugly) Moloi (28) saw choreographer and YFM radio presenter Bontle (29) ten years ago on TV, he set out to meet, date and ultimately wed her. The two then announced their surprise pregnancy and celebrated their nuptials in a stunning traditional style star-studded wedding which saw them entertain guests with their music. They speak to us about making music together, keeping their romance alive and the most chivalrous date they have experienced.
What are some of the sweet things that you do for each other that you appreciate?
Bontle: It's all in the little things that are such a big deal like waking him up with a back rub every morning. I enjoy cooking his favourite meals, filling his tank up with gas or taking his car to the carwash.
Richardo: I usually buy her flowers partnered with the food or snacks she likes, spontaneously, for no reason. During her pregnancy, I've helped with all the household responsibilities, specifically cleaning, washing dishes, dusting and doing the washing.
How have you kept your romance alive especially in an age where there are so many distractions in the form of social media etc...?
Bontle: For us, it's knowing how the other wants to be loved, and how they interpret your expression of your love for them. Once you've developed a solid friendship in your relationship, something as frivolous as social media doesn't begin to contend with the foundation of your relationship. It isn't a valid or prevalent enough distraction to shake you. You can't afford to let the fickle things impact what's solid.
Bontle, what has been the most romantic date that Richardo has taken you out on?
It was in 2014, on my birthday, 7 October, when he took me to a mountain top which we spent hours on, speaking, trading dreams, eating, laughing and crying. It was scenic, beautiful and eventually became his proposal to me. That was one of the most magical moments I tell you!
You make music together under RickJade, essentially you are in business together, how has that affected the dynamics of your partnership?
Richardo: Our music had allowed us to tell our story our way, almost as though we have been granted the ability to create the soundtracks not only to our lives but to life holistically outside of ourselves that anyone else can relate to. And that in many ways has filtered into our relationship and how we maneuver and engage in it.
Bontle: Relationships are in essence multilayered, multifaceted in their dynamics - so you can never stop learning, realising the new, doing away with the old that isn't necessary, as long as you remain present, curious and passionate and somewhat obsessed with bettering your present state for yours and the sake of your partner and the union itself.
You're about to welcome a new addition to your family, what would you advise your unborn child about making relationships work?
Bontle: See and love your partner for who they truly are. You may belong together but they do not belong to you, so never treat them as property. Respect them. Commit to them. Honour them. Be loyal to them. Speak and share your thoughts and desires. Love them unapologetically. Be your best with them.
Richardo: Know what is yours and always put up a good fight, and even when the disagreement is with your partner, never go to bed having not resolved your issues.
Siphiwe and Bokang Tshabalala
As Miss SA 2010, Bokang (33) may have caught the eye of many a suitor but it was national soccer player Siphiwe Tshabalala (35) who eventually stole her heart. The couple got married five years ago and share a son, Owethu who is three-year-old. As burgeoning entrepreneurs, their partnership includes a growing business that has interests in a kiddies fashion line. We find out how they keep their marriage blossoming.
Please share some precious milestones in your union?
Bokang: There have been quite a few. Our pregnancy, opening our business and taking a leap of faith even though we were just dating at the time. The day Siphiwe paid lobola and the day we signed legally as husband and wife.
Siphiwe: For me it was getting married to Bokang and having our son, moving into our dream house, launching our SB Kids range and watching our clothing line making it into Jet and EDGARS shelves.
What advice or tips can you share with women and men who are looking to take this big step?
Bokang: Make sure you are with the right person (according to what you are looking for in a marriage). Instead of looking at what you like or love about the person, look at the things you don't like about them and ask yourself if you are willing to stand them for the rest of your life.
Make sure the person is family orientated if that is something you look for in a marriage and importantly make sure they love you while you're at your best and worst.
Siphiwe: Every marriage is different and needs are different but I believe the basics for us are respect, love, putting each other first as a priority, dreaming each other's dreams and supporting and encouraging each other through careers and life as a whole.
What are some of the favourite things that you do for each other that you appreciate?
Bokang: He buys me flowers randomly, spontaneously takes me on surprise getaways but mostly he is a family man who simply just wants to spend time with me and our son and that means the world to me.
What has made marriage harder for you, as you are both people in the public eye?
Bokang and Siphiwe: Nothing really because we keep our marriage private and only share what we want to share. We haven't allowed the media or public to interfere or even have an influence on how we see each other or our marriage. We continuously choose to do us, walk in our lane at our own pace and this works for us.