This love is blind but not forever

2009-09-26 13:00

SOUTH Africa’s most bizarre – and admittedly innovative – social experiment, 2 Strangers and a Wedding, is back again.

Kaya FM, which ran one of weirdest reality dramas ever on the air-waves last year, is bringing back the programme in which hopeless romantics looking for love compete for a bachelor they’ll meet physically for the first time at the altar!

Marketing manager Mark Mndlela said: “Last year, the campaign really captured the city’s imagination and opened up a number of pertinent discussions about love, marriage and how we pursue happiness in today’s challenging times. We are excited to see what the sequel to the ultimate love story will bring.”

For eight weeks, starting in October, the 2 Strangers panel and the radio station’s listeners will get an opportunity to listen to and vote for their favourite bride and groom on the station’s breakfast show.

The launch took place on Wednesday at the radio station’s offices during Masechaba Moshoeshoe’s talk-show, What’s Your Take?

Moshoeshoe interviewed one half of last year’s couple, accounts controller Gail Brookstein, about her marriage experience to flight test- engineer Derrick Matthee.

The pair married at the end of May last year in a spectacular ceremony at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, following their two-month long media courtship serialised on air.

However, the two announced their “amicable” divorce in September, citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason.

Brookstein related her experience and why they divorced barely a month after the honeymoon.

“The whole thing is a gamble really. You don’t know what you’re getting. The thing I would love to see happen to avoid what happened to Derrick and I is to give the couple some proper counselling before the wedding,” said Brookstein.

She added that when they returned from their honeymoon, it all started breaking down.

“We just didn’t get each other and I believe the main problem was that we could not understand the whole concept of marriage.”

She said although she suggested to her new hubby that they go for counselling, he was not receptive to the idea, which ultimately led to the demise of the nuptial.

However, it seems that the failed marriage hasn’t turned her off love altogether. She says she is currently “happy and in love” with a new man.

Last year’s competition was sweetened by its spectacular prizes – or “gifts” as Kaya FM insists on calling them – of a R1.5 million package featuring a gala wedding with all the trimmings, a four-day honeymoon, R100?000 in cash, a free flat for 12 months and a car each.

With prizes like these as an incentive, it is safe to say that the competition will not run out of entrants.

But it remains to be seen if love will truly prove to be blind this time around for the strangers who plan to marry without even knowing what the other looks like.

The competition, which is new to South Africa, has been running since 1998 in 21 countries and has been a resounding success. However, those marriages that failed in other countries did so quite spectacularly:

)?A UK radio station married a couple matched by a panel of relationship counsellors and astrologers, but they soon split after the wedding.

)?A New York station in 2006 married a couple who stayed together for six months before divorcing.

)?In Los Angeles, in a variant of the competition, the couple split up after a week.

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