We met Mpho and Emmanuel, both 33 years old and living in Claremont, when we were out for the day at Spier. They were out for a day together for the first time since having their 5 week old baby girl and it was so lovely to meet and chat to them.
How long have you been together?
We’ve been together for 5 years and got married last year. We had 2 amazing weddings. My mom’s from Lesotho and my dad is from the US so we had a traditional African wedding just outside Lesotho and the French “white” wedding in France.
How did you first meet?
We had a mutual friend who told me about a very lovely frenchman that was around town. At the same time I had friends visiting Cape Town and he was working at the bar at the backpackers where they were staying. So, I went up to him and said we have a mutual friend, we locked eyes and have been together ever since 😉
What was it about your partner that you were first attracted to?
Emmanuel:For me it was obvious, it was one of those evenings where it just worked out. She is someone who is my lover and my best mate. She’s someone who’s very easy to live with, not moody, very joyful actually and when I realised that I could actually spend time with her and still like being with her, I thought, oh that is cool.
Mpho: Mine is going to sound so superficial but I thought, ‘Damn, he’s hot!’ The accent!’ Because he was always behind the bar, I’d be the one to offer to go get the drinks all the time 😉 I thought he was going to be a typical frenchman who’s going to flirt his way through this but after 2 or 3 weeks, I realised he was here to stay. You want someone who’s your best friend, someone you can laugh with, someone you can also yell at, someone who’s opinionated and he is definitely all of those things 🙂
How do you connect?
Mpho: Well, in the last 5 weeks it hasn’t been easy. To be honest, being at Spier today is actually our first ‘reconnecting’ time. Before the birth of our baby, we used to like going out to eat and drink. We would also like to go for walks sometimes.
Emmanuel: We like to watch movies at home. I like being at home as well so movies are always good. I have to say that the Cape is such a great place to connect. You’ve got the mountain, the sea, vineyards, sunshine, what a place! For couples, it’s such a wonderful place to get out and do things together.
You have quite a few different cultures between the 2 of you, African, European, American.
Has this ever been an issue in your relationship at all and if it has, how do you deal with it?
Mpho: Having different ‘cultures’ hasn’t really created issues for us. I would use cultures lightly, cause for myself I am not particularly aligned to either my mother’s Sesotho culture or my father’s American one. I often call myself ‘a child of the world’ and so even in my relationships I am always kind of neutral. So really the interesting challenges in our relationship tend to be more due to our very strong personalities.rather than culture. But yes one cannot deny that my French husband will insist on having really smelly cheeses in our home that can cause an issue for my nasal passages 🙂 Or that as an african woman I come home with different hairstyles every 3 months which causes my husband visual difficulties! hahaha (Its never good when your husband has difficulty recognising you after 6 hours in the hair salon!!)
I guess a ‘serious’ example of a cultural aspect that makes our relationship interesting could be Emmanuel’s passionate opinions which he is happy to voice loudly (could be described as very French). This at times can be dominating as it can conflict with my sesotho calm and humbleness. But then I have in me the american side that can also be very loud and in his face too. So really we end up bouncing off each other and working things out in our own special way..
So truly I think when one is in love with the other, no matter what your ‘culture’, you anyway have to make compromises to make it work and luckily we have done that in the time we have been together. We generally deal with any ‘issues’ by communicating at all times and by always remembering to share a laugh together when possible.