It was in the stars. John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme echoed in the background on a quiet, middle of the month, Jozi Wednesday night. A glass of whisky planted on the mahogany table lay neglected next to a laptop where Morris Fakude (not his real name) was working on a presentation for work the following day. A friend who was running late finally arrived at his table with a female companion.
The second Fakude’s eyes left his computer and set upon Rhandzu Sokhulu (not her real name), nothing else mattered. The pending presentation was abandoned. Sokhulu was feeling similar emotions, but she was adept at concealing them. The rest of the night flew by and, sensing the chemistry between his mates, the third wheel left them to it.
The two spent the night listening to jazz and talking about literature, love and everything else. At the end of the night, Fakude made a call to his departed friend.
“Hey Joe, I think I have found the one,” he said.
Joe chuckled and hung up.
Because he didn’t want to get into a discussion about why he had his laptop out at a live music venue, Fakude had barred any talk about work for the rest of the evening.
That was a masterstroke, considering this is the first question many people ask when meeting someone for the first time. Fakude and Sokhulu spent the next two nights together and on the third night, the issue of employment came up. Fakude revealed he was the communications man at an FMCG company in the northern suburbs, while Sokhulu seemed reluctant to divulge what her nine to five was, declaring she was employed by some or other organisation.
Fakude probed further until she revealed she worked for the Democratic Alliance (DA). Fakude chuckled a bit, but Sokhulu maintained a steely demeanour.
“How is that possible?” he asked, shocked.
“It started out as a job at first, but then I eventually came to believe in what the party stood for,” she replied.
You see, Fakude was a staunch ANC member but had recently decided to throw his political lot in with Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Sokhulu had detected radical tones during some of their discussions, but she figured it was just talk and if it was more than that, then love would conquer all. Ideologically, the two organisations are miles part and this would clearly affect their relationship.
For Fakude, though, this was a deal breaker.
In the past, Malema had referred to DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko as “a political non-starter” and a “tea girl”, comments Fakude had enjoyed immensely. But he believed he loved Sokhulu, and with time he thought he would sway her to his way of thinking and ideology.
It was not so easy, as she was not simply a member of the DA, but employed by the party, and had her salary paid and her mortgage and car instalments accounted for. It also meant she was deeply immersed in the party’s vision and policies. Fakude, on the other hand, believed the vast natural resources of the land belonged to all South Africans.
An argument erupted a month later about black economic empowerment, with Fakude declaring the DA’s non-committal stance on the matter proved it did not take the majority of South Africans into consideration.
More arguments crept into their discussions and the couple started disagreeing with each vehemently even when out with friends. Sokhulu thought they could find some solution to their political impasse, but Fakude decided it was time they went their separate ways.
Academics in the humanities, Xolani Tembu (Wits) and Sibonile Mpendukana (UWC) have varying views on how the matter should have been handled.
“Well, politics is a livelihood, right?” suggests Tembu.
“We live them. I suppose from that viewpoint, it would be rather hard to maintain a union. But I suppose it also depends largely on how into you the other person is because that does change things – just like the Montagues and the Capulets. Personally, I couldn’t care less. My future wife is intensely ANC and I’m slowly becoming EFF, and it really doesn’t matter, I care about what we’ve got.”
Mpendukana believes he would have taken the same route that Fakude did.
“I think this guy missed the fundamental point of any ideological orientation, and that is to win over your opponent to your side,” he says.
“He should have tried harder to win her over by shining the light on her. But if she is so entrenched in her party, then I understand why he felt she was a lost cause. Its a pity, though, how politics destroyed their union in its infancy.”