With divorce in Botswana becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence, long-lasting marriages are not as common as they once were.
However time has proved no obstacle for 82-year-old Simane Piet Kabasia and his 72-year-old wife Keamogetse Edith Kabasia’s blossoming romance – the couple celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary in Mmathethe village on Saturday.
The gathered audience, which included a large number of family and friends, listened captivated as the married couple narrated their thrilling love tale.
Dressed in traditional attire, changing outfits throughout the day, the long-time lovers explained how they first met almost five decades ago on a hot summer’s day back in 1967 in Kanye.
For smitten Simane it was love at first sight and just two years later the couple were married, going on to raise six children – five girls and one boy.
During his speech, Simane, who is originally from Mogobane village, recalled the moment he first laid eyes on his future wife. “She was very young, around the age of 24 years and was ploughing the family field with cows,” he said with a glittering smile, gazing at Keamogetse with a fondness forged from 47 years spent together.
Playing it cool, Simane explained how, instead of immediately approaching Keamogetse he patiently carried out a little research to find out a bit more about the beautiful farm girl who had so caught his eye and would very soon capture his heart.
During his ‘behind the scenes’ research, he discovered that Keamogetse was from a family of farmers. “I proposed love to her and a few years later I married her,” he said with a bright twinkle in his eye.
The articulate Simane’s moving tale reduced many in the audience to tears of happiness, and they stood as one to show their respect for the couple, clapping and ululating for a full minute.
In her address to the crowd, Kanye-born Keamogetse revealed the secret to a long, successful marriage is to trust and believe in God. “There has to be mutual respect and consultation in marriage,” she added, her face radiant with happiness as she urged the gathered audience to sustain and respect the sanctity of marriage.
Today the family continue their ancestors’ proud farming tradition, eking out a good living from the land. Simane is also a village church leader – a role that, according to locals, he thrives at.
The anniversary was organised by the family’s children and nephews. As part of the celebration, the inspirational couple renewed their vows, their love and commitment for each other as strong today as it was when they first got married all those years ago.