FOR West End couple Yusuf, 73, and Soraya Davids, 73, patience, compromise and forgiveness are reasons why they celebrated 50 years of marital bliss last month.
The couple would have been “high school sweethearts” after their initial meeting at South End High School in the 1960s. But, because of space being unavailable there, Soraya was transferred to Paterson High in Schauderville in 1960.
“We were part of the same circle of friends but I never really paid any attention to him. My friends insisted I go out with him,” Soraya said. After five years of on-and-off dating, the couple married at the Pier Street Mosque in South End on December 8 1965.
In 1963, their families were forcefully removed from their homes in South End as a result of the Group Areas Act, to the Gelvan Park suburb, and this led to Yusuf and Soraya living with her parents for 10 years, before moving to West End to start a family of their own.
The couple had a small wedding ceremony in the company of about 50 of their closest friends and family, with the reception hosted at the bride’s home.
Even though the black and white photograph of the wedding day is now creased and faded, memories of the moment are still fresh in the mind.
“I will never forget that day, I wore a cream and embossed lace dress with a beaded choker, while Yusuf wore a tweed jacket with a waistcoat. He looked so handsome with his long and beautiful hair,” Soraya said.
Their need to be certain they were destined to be together, led to the couple marrying only at the age of 22, relatively “old” they say, compared to their friends.
“Back then most couples married young [er] but we wanted to be sure that we belong together,” Soraya said.
The Davids have four children – daughter Shaheeda, 50, and sons Nazeem, 50, and Behowaden, 45 – who all live in the Bay, while the youngest, Rieyaad, 33, resides in Johannesburg. The couple have 10 grandchildren, with another two on the way. Before retiring and becoming an independent contractor, Yusuf worked as a builder for the then PE Municipality.
Yusuf was a keen sportsman and played rugby, hockey and soccer and coached the Northern Areas’ Arsenal Baseball team. To celebrate their anniversary, the Davids’ embarked on a spiritual journey, visiting Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for two weeks from December 22 to January 5.
“We had always wanted to go to Mecca to do a pilgrimage, so we saved up and went to Umra,” Yusuf said.
“We’ve made it this far because we respect and listen to each other,” Yusuf added.
Yusuf and Soraya have 9 great grandchildren.