Perfect Match

Smart girls make dumb choices. I’ve made a few of my own. Ladies hear this:

Your perfect match does not:

1. Shine on your shine. We know what that’s about. He has to have the spotlight ALL THE TIME. *eyes rolling*

2. Disrespect his mother, his sister or any female member of his family. He is courteous, even under provocation. He walks away rather than escalate a fight.

3. Talk badly about you behind your back, to ANYONE, especially the OTHER WOMAN. And if you are the other woman, he is not your perfect match either.

4. Disrespect you in front of the family. Especially HIS family. Nor does he embarrass you in front of other people, random strangers in particular.

5. Keep you waiting. You’re dressed up, dolled up, it’s 8pm, he’s a no show and he hasn’t called. NO, that is not the time to cry, change, then lie on the couch with a tub of ice-cream. You grab your purse, take an UBER ride and you hit the club, with or without him. Take a girlfriend if you can’t do it alone. If you meet him there, act like you don’t know him. He has already proven that he is not worthy of you. Keep it moving.

6. Ditch you for his friends, see point 5 above.

7. Push, shove, slap or kick you. In fact that should be point no. 1.

8. Start drooling over other women in your presence. However hot, he’s feeling about that girl in the hotpants, low cut blouse, whatever, he keeps it to himself ALWAYS. In fact if he’s the one, she could be stark naked and he won’t even see it.

9. He’s generous and responsible with his money. He doesn’t “forget” his wallet. He pays his bills on time and doesn’t spend every cent of his money, or yours for that matter.

10. He keeps his word. See point 5 above. Life happens, but he is civil, maintains healthy boundaries with his ex- girlfriend, ex-wife and he takes care of his children. And if he can’t make it, he calls.

Ladies, I pray you attract The One. That you will know that he’s the one and there is no doubt in his mind either, that you’re the one for him.

And gentlemen, if you do not do any of these things, then You’re the Man! I know your soul mate, your perfect match is out there. I pray that she recognises the good man that you are,  when you meet.


Chapter 6 in Pictures

I see her floating lazily through the market like a butterfly.

Oh yes, I won’t forget the day came shining in. ( Hugh Masekela)

West African Market Place. The smiles are real. (Courtesy of Pinterest)

Johannesburg Central Business District (Courtesy of Pinterest)

Mai Mai Market. Not just for muti. (Courtesy of Pinterest)

Maboneng Precinct. Arts on Main. Market on Main. Johannesburg CB ( Courtesy of Pinterest)

Chapter 4 My Heart Crowned Him King

Head over heels,

Still falling,

Far still from hitting,

Rock bottom.

Gravity’s nothing

Compared to this feeling.

My mind appeals,

Raging, warning

Alarm bells ringing

This can’t be real.

His hands on my skin,

My fevered response within.

I’m mesmerized, paralyzed and hypnotised.

I want to walk, run and fly

All at the same time,

 From the agony, ecstasy

The relentless intensity.

Held captive by those eyes.

With one look, my heart crowned him king.

 Now my soul has only this song to sing.

Painting attributed to Samuel Ikenna Kong

Chapter 3 in Pictures

Hey, when I first saw you, I got excited

Tried to keep my composure, tryna hide it

But I didn’t know

I didn’t let go 

Then it occurred to me while tryna fight it

Just like a kite, you learn to ride it

But I didn’t know

You’re s’posed to let it go

Like a gust of wind

You hit me off sometimes

Like a gust of wind

You push me back every once in a while

Like a gust of wind

You remind me there’s someone up there

Chapter 2 Ndihamba Nawe (performed by Mafikizolo)

(Xhosa) Literally means I’m going with you. Alternative meaning I choose you, from a girl to a guy. One of my favourite songs by Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza. 

It was quiet in the apartment. The interior was a modern design with clean lines, minimalist, almost spartan. This was clearly a man’s space with the bare essentials, couches and a coffee table. The focal point of the room was the entertainment centre, with a massive curved TV screen and a bunch of different gadgets. The remote controls were all neatly lined up on a side table near the couch. I was quite intimated by all the gadgets. He tried to explain what each one was. I didn’t even get half of it.

Jide invited me to sit on the couch as he played some music, mostly Soul and RnB. I remember hearing Pharrell, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Nelly. He then brought two wine glasses. It was so clichéd, dimmed lights, soft music and wine. Great! I thought, if this man thinks he can get me drunk and seduce me, he has another thing coming. Of all my friends, I have the highest tolerance for alcohol. As my brain went into overdrive, strategising my escape, I took a sip. It turned out to be sparkling grape juice. This man is full of surprises, I thought. He must have been watching my reaction. He laughed,

“You thought I was going to get you drunk and try to seduce you. I’ll admit the thought did cross my mind. Unfortunately I don’t hold my liquor very well, so I don’t keep any.”

“Oh!” This was a surprise, but I had to ask, “So what happens on boy’s night out? When everyone else is getting drunk?”

“I’m the designated driver,” he said, “All the time.”

I must seem quite depraved in comparison. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine, but only when I have company. I avoid drinking when I’m alone, it seems like a slippery slope, once you start, you can’t stop. I keep the bare essentials on a bar cart at home, for occasional entertaining. It was a cute idea that I found on Pinterest. It makes it easier to serve drinks when you have company and is a great conversation starter.

“That’s so larney of you to serve grape juice in a wine glass,” I said. He laughed, then explained that it keeps the juice cool when you hold it by the stem, just as with champagne, then you don’t need to add ice. You shouldn’t add ice to fruit juice, it must just be served chilled. He was very particular about that. Even at restaurants. He often sent the waiter back with his fruit juice when they added ice because it wasn’t chilled. His Mum bought him the wine glasses when he moved in. It made sense, I thought. What single guy has wine glasses? Most single men had single items, but nothing co-ordinated or matching when it came to home ware. They never buy anything but end up with an odd assortment of stuff pilfered from hotels, restaurants and other people’s homes.

We went out and sat on the balcony. Again the enormity of the situation struck me. Here I was, alone with a man I hardly knew. “I don’t usually do this,” I started, hesitantly.

“Do what?” He asked, “Oh I get it!” he continued in teasing tones, “Go off with a man you don’t know! What if I turn out to be a rapist or a serial killer?”

I blushed, then brushed my fingers along my hairline. “I mean, I don’t want you to think I’m well, you know, easy.” My voice trailed off as I looked intently at him, trying to read his reaction. He looked at me, smiling at first, then a brooding solemn expression came over his face.

“Pelo, I’ve never done this before either.” He was really sincere. I believed him. I realized that he was just as unsure, only the attraction was too strong for either of us.

To lighten the situation, I asked, “What is wrong with us?” Why didn’t we follow the script, like other people do when they meet for the first time?” He looked at me quizzically. “You know, exchange numbers, say we’re going to call and all that.”

What he said next blew my mind. “I had never seen you before and I had to make sure you were real. When I realized that you actually exist, I couldn’t just settle for your number. I felt you were going to slip away, just vanish.” He seemed so vulnerable. Then he with a teasing half-smile he continued, “And when you gave that guy a lingering hug, it felt like my heart was breaking and I just wanted to punch him. He really seemed to be enjoying himself and I couldn’t bear to watch.”

My mouth opened wide. I tried to slap him on the shoulder. But as I moved towards him, he caught my wrist, then kissed the palm of my hand. I was stunned by the searing heat of his lips on my palm. Somewhere deep inside of me, the flame of desire leapt up. He took me into his arms and we kissed. A series of lingering, passionate kisses, I almost passed out. I know he felt it too. We couldn’t stop. Eventually, out of breath, we reluctantly pulled apart, still clinging to each other. My head was spinning. I wasn’t sure whether my feet were still on the ground. My head was on his shoulder. I felt his beating heart and heard him inhale deeply.
It was exhilarating and scary at the same time, meeting someone and feeling such a connection. It felt like I had known him forever. I was so sure he wouldn’t hurt me or take advantage of me. The rational, intellectual part of my brain insisted it was folly to be alone with a complete stranger. My soul however, rejoiced because being with him felt so right. The truth is, I was falling for him more and more with each passing moment. It was as if someone was watching the movie of our destiny and had pressed the fast forward button. Everything was happening so fast but at the same time, but weird and unsettling as it was, it was pure bliss. “I want you so much,” he whispered, still breathing heavily. I don’t want to let you go. Ever! ” he said, emphatically. I looked up at him in surprise. No man had ever been that intense, or honest with me.
“Jide,” I stepped away from him as I spoke, “Men have names for girls who get them aroused, and then say no. I don’t want to be that kind of girl.” I told him about the time when I was at university and met a guy. We had a great afternoon, but it was spoilt, when he insisted on having sex with me. He wasn’t rough or violent, I gave in reluctantly but insisted on protection. In his mind, that meant I was a willing participant. I had only recently met him and despite the attraction, I wasn’t ready to get physical. I wanted nothing to do with him after that and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to be with him even though he pursued me for weeks afterwards. He then got nasty and called me names. I was a nervous wreck for months afterwards and blamed myself for leading him on.
I expected Jide to shut down or quickly lose interest. I guess I told the story to put him off because things were happening too fast. Instead, he closed his eyes and moved towards me and held me tight. “I’m really sorry. I’m so sorry he did that to you. I’m so mad at him”. Gently placing his fingertips under my chin, he lifted up my head, looked at me, those beautiful eyes filled with such love and compassion, then said, “We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Ok?” I was so overcome, I almost wept, I nodded silently. Then he said, “it’s getting chilly our here, let’s go inside.” I nodded, then he led me back inside the apartment.

Chapter 1 Gimme The Night -George Benson

So come on out tonight

And we’ll lead the others

On a ride through paradise.

And if you feel all right

Then we can be lovers ’cause I see that

Starlight look in your eyes.

Don’t you know we can fly?

Just gimme the night. Gimme the night. Written by Rodney Lynn Temperton • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

No Rules: The Back Story

What inspired you to write this story?

I am an idealist and an incurable romantic. I believe in love and in the happily ever after. My parents have been married for over 40 years and been together for almost 50 years. My husband and I recently celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. I have witnessed the struggles of my single friends, both male and female when it comes to dating and picking the right person. I want to portray a positive view of marriage and relationships with a minimum of drama and pain. I also have friends and acquaintances who are in cross-cultural marriages and relationships and I have written about some of the issues that they face.

Why did you choose the title of No Rules?

Mwoyo muti unomera paunoda is a Shona saying which means the heart (love) is a tree which grows where it wants to. There are no rules to love. People have tried reducing the phenomenon of love to a formula, but there really isn’t one and have come up with all sorts of written and unwritten rules. The relationship in this story breaks all of them. The laws of physical attraction may be fixed but love is really a supernatural phenomenon. Magazines and self-help books are full of advice on how to get and keep a man, how to affair-proof your marriage and relationship etc. but the reality is love is about how two people feel about each other. There are different kinds of love and we feel them at different times for different reasons which makes it hard to predict and manipulate.

What are ‘the rules’

A tricky issue where people attempt to define rules is how long do you wait before you have sex. Many men driven by pure lust would want to have sex on the first date or soon after. Lust is a biological phenomenon intended by God for humans to multiply. A man in this case is driven by the instinct to spread his seed. The majority of men lose interest immediately afterwards. So women have a dilemma.  Do you insist that he marry you, then watch him move on? Or do you compromise and have sex because you love him and let’s face it, women have needs too, then risk him waking up the following day and deciding you’re not the one?

There is a double standard that applauds men while denigrating women for having sex outside of marriage. Steve Harvey wrote Think Like A Man for his daughters because he understands how men think. He suggests waiting for 90 days, in order to be sure of the man’s intentions. However, there are people who had sex from the day they met and are still together, while others waited years, got married and still got divorced. So the only rule is not absolute.

In the novel, the couple wait for a while. They try to fight it. They don’t do a very good job. That is the reality. We have so many roadblocks, obstacles and protocol around marriage which make it an onerous process. In Genesis, God created Eve and simply put her in the garden. Adam decided she would be his partner saying she is the flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.  I don’t believe God ever intended for marriage to be so complicated, these are human rules for whatever reason. It would help if people were honest with themselves and with each other about expectations regarding sex and a relationship.

The other rule extends to marriage. How long should you wait. Again, there are people who get married within 6 months of meeting and stay together, while others wait years and still get divorced. Jide and Pelonomi meet, endure challenges and survive them to get their happily ever after. In some relationships a couple can go through in six months, what others take 10 years to experience. There is no absolute rule. The question is is how well do you know your partner and do you love him or her enough to live with their imperfections? Some people close their eyes to the truth, only to realise they can’t handle those imperfections and then they get divorced 2 years or 20 years later.

The story is set in South Africa in 2017? Why is that?

I have lived in South Africa for over 10 years. It is a beautiful country, vibrant, cosmopolitan and has such a rich history and diverse cultures. It is also a place that attracts people from different nationalities. I want to showcase what makes our country special. South Africans know to have fun, we can really party. We are among the earliest risers in the world and we strive to do better for ourselves and our families.  If you live in South Africa, you can relate to the setting. I will be publishing photographs and other media to make it real for readers overseas because I want them to see what I see.

Why choose Millennials for the main characters?

I wanted to represent young urban African professionals who are educated, accomplished and cosmopolitan. I have not come across too many stories about this cosmopolitan generation. The Millennials have been the subject of research and debate. They are different from previous generations. They are more socially and environmentally conscious, they think differently. They also value family and tradition even though they practice these in their own way. They are technologically advanced and connected via social media. They want to change the world. They are the leaders of the future and that future is not far off. I wrote the story in the first person, which is incredibly challenging, because I want the reader to stand in the people’s shoes and experience the emotions. My children are from that generation. When they come of age, I want them to choose their partners wisely so In a sense, I am writing this for them.

Why does Pelonomi have to be studious, in other words, a nerd?

Nerds fall in love too. Pelo is a highly intelligent, educated and cultured young woman. Many men would be attracted to her face and body and not pay attention to her amazing mind or her crazy ideas. But crazy ideas are the ones that change the world. When we appreciate everything about our partners, we can support them and they can achieve extraordinary things. Jide is a nerd too, he just doesn’t look like one, because he plays basketball and is in great physical shape. So the story is about two nerds falling in love. In a sense it is a way of letting intelligent girls know that they can be themselves and find love and not have to hide their brilliance because it makes men insecure.

There are some highly charged and explicit love scenes. What is your reason for including these? 

This is a work of adult fiction. Sex is an integral part of life. We are all here as a result of sex. Studies show the number of times men and women think about sex. It is a primary biological need, whose purpose is to keep the human race from extinction, not that we are in any danger of that now. In the novel, I wanted to portray sex in a loving committed relationship because many people believe sex is boring when you get married or commit to one partner. It really isn’t unless you make it so. If you do, you will forever be lusting after other people. Too many people destroy their marriages because they are fantasizing about what is out there. In my opinion, casual sex is the equivalent of eating junk food when you can have a gourmet meal at home, because you lack that intimacy and emotional connection that makes it special.

You don’t pull your punches when you talk about xenophobia. Why is that? 

I was born in Zimbabwe. My paternal grandfather was Zulu. His family were immigrants in what was then called Rhodesia. I am classified as an immigrant because I was not born in South Africa. I have personally experienced xenophobia because I use my husband’s surname and my passport does not bear witness to my genealogy.

The reality is that there is no pure race or tribe. We’re all from somewhere else. The borders that we live within are artificial ones created by the colonial powers in an effort to keep peace among themselves. These borders split up families, clans and nations from a common linguistic and cultural point of view. In South Africa the only truly indigenous people are the Khoi San, everyone else is an immigrant.

My two main characters are from different countries and they each face hurdles in believing that the love is real and getting this relationship accepted because of the stereotypes and barriers that we have developed as African people.

You talk extensively about religion and spirituality. Why is that?  

The lovers are both Christians at different stages in their walk with God. Our spirituality is an important part of who we are. When we do not spend time in some sort of devotion, we lose touch with a vital part of ourselves and we try to fill that emptiness with drugs, alcohol, sex, food or whatever other addictions. I want to promote a positive image of God as a loving deity, not a harsh taskmaster. The God that I worship is interested in all the details of our lives, including our love lives and believe it it not, sex. There are also different ways of relating to God, known as spiritual pathways and God will meet you on the pathway you choose because the Bible says God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6.

Who needs to read this story?

Single people, particularly women, who struggle with issues of relationships and expressing themselves sexually. Married people too will find some wisdom to revive the passion in their relationships. Writing the novel helped me to appreciate things about my husband and our marriage that I have tended to take for granted.

What can we look forward to in the novel? 

There is romance, fun and laughter. There are interesting conversations with friends and family as they come to terms with the relationship. There are moments of crisis and conflict. There is the bridal shower where the pastor’s wife gives an iconic speech and the preparations for the four different ceremonies for the marriage to be complete.

What other plans do you have for the story? 

I would love to make a film of it. I think it is a great story. I would also like to get people to engage with the story on different platforms, because there are so many issues that are relevant to our society that we need to think about and debate and confront and change our minds if possible, in order to make better choices for ourselves and for people around us.

No Rules: Synopsis of the Novel

This is a an urban contemporary love story between two Millennials from different backgrounds. Pelonomi is South African woman whose family is from rural Limpopo but grew up in Johannesburg, while Jideofor is a Nigerian man who was born in the United States. I chose the title   ‘No Rules’ because the relationship progresses in a manner that differs to the accepted norms of how people get to know each other and decide on whether a person is ‘the one’.
The story takes you on the roller-coaster journey of their relationship from the moment they meet, getting to know each other and meeting their respective families, to eventually getting married. While the couple have different personalities and interests, they have similar core values and they are able to overcome their differences to build a solid and intimate relationship. There are also some interesting conversations with the couple’s friends and family as they try to come to terms with this whirlwind love affair.

The couple struggle to resist the their mutual physical attraction to establish their relationship. Pelonomi as a young black woman from a fairly conservative background and a survivor of date rape, struggles with her need to express herself sexually. Jideofor as a man, has no such hang-ups but has to be sensitive to her needs and give her time to get over her fears.

The story is set in Johannesburg, giving the reader an view of contemporary South African urban life. The story shows the contrasts between global contemporary lifestyles and lingering demands of both Pedi and Igbo tradition and custom. The story also touches on current issues of xenophobia, the conflict between tradition and modernity particularly when it comes to women, sexuality and marriage, the influence of religion, and the idea of the common origin of sub-Saharan African people.

The novel also proposes a radical view of sex within a committed relationship that opposes the prevailing negative narrative of boring monogamy. The story also touches on the impact of religious fundamentalism and dogmatic tradition and custom which dictates how women ‘should behave’.

The story tells of the drama of planning and carrying out of four different marriage ceremonies to accommodate tradition on both sides of the family as well as religion. However, the couple manage to get through it all through their intense love for one another and with the help of their friends to get to their ‘happily ever after’ moment when they set off on honeymoon.