TWENTY-NINE years after Wela Matomela married his wife, Xoliswa, they are still going strong with Xoliswa keeping the family of musicians together.
They met in 1981 at Algoa Training College through a mutual friend, and instantly hit it off and got married two years later at St Banabas Presbyterian Church in Daku.
Wela, 63, is a retired schoolteacher and now a pastor at the Pentecostal Holiness Church at KwaZakhele, while his wife, Xoliswa, 59, is an administrative clerk at Henry Nginza Primary School, also in KwaZakhele.
Wela, who is originally from Uitenhage, said they moved to Bridgemead to get peace of mind.
“We moved here in 1995 from New Brighton in search of a better life, and to be closer to schools for our children.
“In a way you could say we were running from township life because it is rough.
“I think I will be buried here. It is nice and cool. No one bothers us here,” Wela said.
“We are a family which has Christian and education values. We are a united family and my husband is very caring and supporting. Our values helped in raising our children,” said the KwaZakhele-born Xoliswa. They have four children, Thandeka, 37, Sisanda, 34, Khanya, 27 and Thando, 22. They also have three grandchildren, Sibabalwe, 17, Babalwa, 12 and Thandokazi, 3.
The likes of Zwai and Loyiso Bala, Nomhle Nongogo, Asanda Bam, the Fohloza sisters, Lulama Lolo, Sylvester Funani of Joyous Celebration, Gigi Mesani and the late Zolile Ndyawo all started their music careers with Wela’s Fellowship Choir which he formed in 1986 to help young musicians.
Their youngest child, Thando is a member of the well-known Port Elizabeth band, Point 5, while Khanya is also part of the Centrestage band.
“Some parents would have never supported their children to explore a music career, and I thank God they understand the industry.
“They are supportive but strict at the same time. I remember when we were younger we could not sleep with dirty dishes. They raised us well,” said Khanya.