SINCE their wedding day 63 years ago at the Pier Street Mosque in South End, Naziem and Gaceba Abrahams have shared the same values, which they say have helped to keep their marriage strong. The Gelvandale couple met when Naziem – then 19 – was tap dancing in a concert and Gaceba was still Gaceba Davids.
“She sang in a group called The Melody Sisters, and because of this concert, we often spent time in the same company.
“She caught my eye and I immediately knew she was someone I wanted to get to know, maybe even the one I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my life with,” Naziem said.
“Look, I didn’t waste a lot of time. I approached her, we got to talking and I eventually asked her if she’d like me to be her boyfriend. I took an interest in her and she responded.”
They went out for three years before getting married in South End on February 18 1951.
The couple lived in Earl Street in South End before being forced out of their home during apartheid, because of the Group Areas Act, and chose a new place to live in racially allocated areas. They moved to Gensbok Street, Gelvandale, and have lived there ever since. “We started our journey together and never looked back.
The thing I remember most about our wedding day was the choir that performed, I can’t really remember the name but they sang ‘Nederland songs’.
“You must remember that we got married during the apartheid era. Things were hard but we stuck together.”
Naziem did freelance work for construction companies but was a painter by trade while Gaceba was a housewife who also catered for weddings and other functions. They have seven children and 17 grandchildren.
“My children are Samieg, Nasier, Ferial, Riedwaan, Salwa, Gishma and Ghouwa,” says Gaceba, who doesn’t hear very well anymore and doesn’t speak as much as Naziem.
The Abrahams are still members of the mosque they were married in, enjoy family time together and have always been fond of camping at Schoenmakerskop.
Naziem said as their family grew, so did his love grew for his wife and children.
“Look, we all have ups and downs but we work it out. If you love someone and there’s understanding and honesty in a relationship, anything can be worked out, you just have to share the same values.
“I’ve been lucky to have a good wife. She’s always looked after myself and the children. She’s always been there to guide our children and we agreed upon how to raise them – on the correct path.
“It’s important to hold your religion in high regard and it’s always good to have senior members of the community to look up to as role models,” Naziem said.
A recent visit to Cape Town made him think back to their own wedding day: “We attended a wedding that also had a choir singing and it made me think back to the day I got married.”
– Octayvia Nance