- Rhoda and Johannes met at a local municipal pool as children, and although they lost contact for over four decades, they never forgot about each other.
- When they were entering their 60s they reconnected and started a relationship.
- They have been together for five years now and are planning to get married soon.
It is almost five decades since Johannes Brunette laid eyes on Rhoda Schutte for the first time, but their memories are vivid.
They were barely teens when they saw each other for the first time at a local municipal pool in Krugersdorp.
Johannes and his brother were brave enough to ask Rhoda and her sister Annamarie if they could walk them home.
But their meeting was short-lived. Rhoda moved, and they didn't see each other for 45 years until they started dating five years ago.
After all those years apart, they are now in a relationship and planning to marry.
Previously they both had built separate lives of their own and married different people. "I was married for 33 years when my wife died, leaving me with my one boy and two daughters," says Johannes.
"For the next four years, I was moping and could not find direction again until my younger sister, who established a friendship with Rhoda's sister Annamarie organised a date between Rhoda and me."
Rhoda had gotten divorced several years before.
Rhoda was a bit worried about going on a date with someone she last saw when she was a child. "I was wondering what he is going to think of me. I'm tall and a bit chubby," Rhoda says. "And when we did meet, he said, "yoh, but you are tall!"
She says it has been absolute bliss and that she loves that he is easy to love and he is loving. "I did wonder [what happened to him], even though I was nine when we first met," she says.
"Not in a million years did I think we would be together, but I'm glad I have him back in my life."
Johannes says their love story has been remarkable. "It has taught me that a person should never say 'never,'" he says.
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