This month we are head over heels in love with the Mabapa’s who are our #BONAWeddings April winners. Sophiah (32) and Collen Mabapa (36) met in Harrismith and Sophiah wrote in to tell us all about it, saying “we met during an audit which was done at my workplace and Collen was auditing me at the time. During the audit, he had to ask a couple of questions from my side and as I was answering him, I thought that he was very firm in his questioning… I liked the fact that he made presence felt.”
How they met
Sophiah says they had an immediate connection: “we clicked from the very first conversations we had together. I used to say that I had found the male version of myself, as there were so many things that we saw eye to eye on. He made sense as we spoke and so did I (according to him). In some instances, we used to affirm that what we were saying was really how we felt and that we did not just say things that we thought the other party wanted to hear. At the time when I met him, I had been praying to find someone who would fulfil me in every way – he was and still is the answer to my prayers.”
Making the first move
Although Sophiah was intrigued, Collen made the first move when he reached out to Sophiah, and as the cliché goes the rest was history. The couple dated for 7 months before Collen sent his parents to meet Sophiah’s “to build relationships and which was a platform for lobola negotiations. After my parents had known his as well as him, it was a blessing for us to get engaged.”
A few months before the meeting of the families, Collen had proposed but Sophiah wasn’t ready. She recalls “we had gone on an outing to Magaliesburg and during a candlelit dinner he popped the question. It was just five months after we had met – but he did not have a ring with him, and he did not go on his knees. Therefore, I froze in shock and never answered him when he held my hands and said “you look so beautiful and you are an amazing person. Will you marry me?” I was confused and wondered if he was serious. He proved to have been serious when he later had to ask me to marry him after he had sent his parents over to mine. This time around it was with a ring and he kneeled down. It was the perfect proposal!”
Tying the knot
The couple said “I do!” in two traditional ceremonies in August 2015 over two days of festivities. The ceremonies took place in Sophiah’s hometown of Harrismith and in Lebowakgomo which is Colleen’s hometown. “Due to our traditions, there were rituals that had to be performed by our elders in the two families as a symbol of having fully paid lobola and to accept me as the bride of the new family. We later signed at the Department of Home Affairs following the ceremonies we had. My highlight was when my family came bearing gifts into my new family. It came as a shock to the people who were attending, as it is not their tradition for the bride to come with so many gifts for the groom’s family.”
The first dance
The couple’s first dance was to Mafikizolo’s hit Ndihamba Nawe. Sophiah says they chose this song because “just like the song says, my husband chose me, therefore, I am going with him – I have left to start a new chapter of my life with him.” Their new life welcomed a baby a year after marriage.
How they are keeping their union strong
The pair will be married 4 years in August 2019 and how they keep their union strong is by always remembering to be a unit. “When we had to make a decision that our marriage is just the two of us and that as much as we cannot live without our families, they need to have a spot outside our marriage. Decisions are not made without consulting one another meaning that none of us should take a decision alone or on behalf of the other party, we need to alert people around us that we always consult with one another.
5 ingredients to their strong bond
Prayer has also been an important part of their marriage. “Prayer was what drew us together and therefore we believe that it will see us through.” In addition to prayer, Sophiah and Collen say the 5 ingredients to their strong bond are:
- Praying together and for one another
- Communication! Communication! Communication!
- Every party being honest and true to themselves – being yourself in the relationship
- Keeping our relationship as just the two of us – no family, no friends
- Never going to bed with a broken heart
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