Thami and Jo-Anne: so in love

By Drum Digital
08 December 2010

SUPERMAN– that’s what she’s called him ever since he swooped in to save the day when she was so broke she couldn’t afford to pay her rent. Faced with homelessness, he insisted that she move in with him – and what’s more, her roommate could come along too.

For gorgeous Jo-Anne Reyneke, that sealed things. Any guy who was prepared to make such a commitment in a relationship had to be a keeper – and she was right.Two years into their romance, Jo-Anne (22) and her hero, Thami Mngqolo (28) form one of the golden couples on Mzansi’s entertainment scene... and for the first time they’ve agreed to talk about their relationship.

And we’ve gone to a lot of trouble to arrange the perfect romantic setting: the fivestar Talana Riverside Hotel in Fourways, which has lush green gardens overlooking a gleaming river.

We’re all set to receive the good-looking couple – but two and a half hours later there’s no sign of them. Just as we begin wondering whether we’ve been stood up, they rush into view, apologising like mad.

The soapies are to blame for holding them up, it seems. Generations, in which Thami plays gay Senzo, had some last-minute changes added to the filming schedule – and the show, as always, must go on.

Both are looking stylish as ever, sexy and casual in jeans. Jo-Anne, who plays receptionist Pearl in Muvhango, would look lovely in a sack though, and the shorter hairstyle she’s sporting these days – plaits with a stylish fringe – suits her perfectly. She plays with her locks as she gazes over the scenery.

“Wow, this place is so beautiful,” she sighs. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in Joburg – more like you’re in the country. It’s our kind of place,” she adds, turning to Thami. “We must come back sometime.”

Thami nods in agreement. “We don’t get out together much in public,” he says. “We attract too much attention, so we like to just relax, hang out with friends and keep things low-key. We don’t even go out grocery shopping together because people want to take pictures or chat – not that I mind, but it means no quick in and out.”

His brother, Lukhanyo, does the shopping instead. “He lives nearby and he doesn’t mind,” Thami says.

Thami especially has a lot of people coming up to him on the rare occasion when he and Jo-Anne do pluck up the courage to venture out in public.

“People are surprised when they see us together, but they’re generally cool. I get a few comments, such as ‘Hey, gay boy, where’s Jason?’ but I take them with a pinch of salt.

“I’m lucky there hasn’t been much backlash because of my storyline, unlike Katlego Danke (who plays Dineo Mashaba), who was slapped by one of the fans because of her feud with Connie (Ferguson, who used to play Karabo). People like Jason; he’s a good guy, polite and well-mannered.”

And Jo-Anne could soon be attracting as much attention as her popular boyfriend – her storyline on Muvhango is about to be extended. “I’m really excited about it,” she says. “My storyline is going to get a bit more comedic, which is great.”

Then, as they settle down in the tranquil surroundings, they tell us their love story...

THEY met in January 2009 at a party hosted by a mutual friend, and while they both work at the SABC, this was their first meeting. Thami was there with someone else, while Jo-Anne was with a girlfriend.

But date or no date, he couldn’t help noticing her. “I mean, she’s gorgeous! We got talking and I thought she was a really cool chick . . . and extremely hot!”

“I was flirting my ass off!” Jo-Anne confesses. “I was giving him some of my best moves, but he didn’t seem to notice. I brushed his shoulder, laughed at his jokes and hoped he’d ask for my number.

“I didn’t realise who he was at the time – there was just a connection. I was very attracted to him. I like men who are smart but don’t always show it – and he’s really cute!” Laughing, Thami pipes up, “Hey, I thought she was just being friendly! I was flattered by her attention but it wasn’t that obvious she was into me.”

Read the full article in DRUM of 16 December 2010

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