SA widow off to Ireland to find more than just love at matchmaking festival

2017-08-21 08:39
Marleze Kruger is in love with Ireland and would like to move there. (Elizabeth Sejake, Netwerk24)

Marleze Kruger is in love with Ireland and would like to move there. (Elizabeth Sejake, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Irish media have gone wild over a South African widow "who sold her properties and business in a search for love" at a festival for people who are single.

The organisers of the Lisdoonvarna festival are chuffed about 46-year-old Marleze Kruger's story, which made headlines in almost every Irish newspaper, Netwerk24 reported.

For most people, Willie Daly, Ireland's "only traditional" marriage broker, is the biggest drawcard at the festival. He has been doing it for 45 years after taking over from his father and grandfather.

The Lisdoonvarna festival claims he has brought 3 000 couples together. This is based on notes in his notebook, which is 150 years old.

Daly told the Irish Examiner that he’d spoken to Marleze and can "guarantee" that she will meet someone she likes. "Never in my career as a love consultant have I seen such interest in a woman."

"No, no," Kruger told Rapport in a coffee shop in Johannesburg. The Irish have it all wrong. Yes, she is selling her properties and guest house. And yes, she is in love with Ireland and would like to move there.

But she is not going to the Lisdoonvarna festival to find love, she said. She has been there before and loves the music concerts held during the festival.

"My family and I have had a tough time in South Africa over the past 14 years. This trip is about a possible solution," said Kruger.

"My husband was killed in a car hijacking in Kempton Park in 2003. We searched for 11 days before finding his body. And that was just the start of it," said Kruger.  

Since then, she has been the victim of two separate hijackings and was attacked with a knife on the beach at Ballito.

'It's not what they think'

"We moved to Randburg in 2008 and within four months, there were five burglaries while we were in the house."

During the same period, her parents and son were robbed of R150 000 in their house.

"My oldest brother sustained a spinal injury during a bank robbery [where he was just a client] and my youngest brother was also the victim of a hijacking."

Enough was enough, she said.

It will be her third visit to Ireland. "There is an almost magical quality to Ireland," she said.

"The people, the food and the music touch me. It's just so different in Ireland. Almost no crime and the way in which men treat their women is amazing. They will do anything for them."

Kruger described her visit as a "search for a better life" instead of a search-for-love trip, as it is now being touted.

"A journalist from the County Clare community newspaper approached me for an interview after the festival's website reported that I would be travelling 10 000km to find love.

"Since the end of June, I have received 7 000 messages from single men and they don't seem to understand that this is just part of my life's journey, it’s not what they think." And, in any case, it's as much about the music as it is about searching for love, she said.

Kruger is leaving for Ireland on August 30 and plans to return to South Africa in the middle of September. 

Read more on:    ireland  |  johannesburg

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