“CUPID shot the first time I saw this lovely young lady,” says a beaming Aethie Naidoo, looking at his wife, Rukumani, wearing a beautiful green sari and smiling shyly back at him in their lounge last weekend.
The couple was unable to join in Saturday’s celebrations but invited The Herald to their Malabar home instead as they described their 53-year marriage.
AT, as he is fondly known in the Malabar community said his wife’s family from East London had visited his family in South End in 1959, with three daughters in tow.
“I looked at her once and my mind was made up – she was the one for me. One of them was enough!” he laughed.
After a few visits to East London, AT managed to win Rukumani’s heart and in front of more than 600 guests on April 2 1961 they were married in a traditional Hindu wedding at the Crispin hall in North End before a reception at South End’s SSA Hall.
Rukumani chips in: “We were both 23 when we married. I was very nervous, but God has kept us together. My husband took good care of me and the children over the years.”
AT smiles and interjects, “when there is understanding, everything else falls into place”.
The couple said the biggest accomplishment of their marriage, came when they bought the plot of the home they live in. Due to the Group Areas Act they were “forced to move from our bigger home in South End to a small council house here in Malabar,” AT said.
Rukumani said it was “so fulfilling when we were finally able to buy this plot and build the home we wanted”.
The pensioners have a son and daughter, and three grandchildren.