Two Capetonians fall in love – nearly 50 years after first meeting

Hannie Fourie and James Cooper. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Hannie Fourie and James Cooper. (PHOTO: Supplied)

It sounds like the plot of a book or a movie: two people bump into each other 46 years after first meeting – and fall in love.

But that’s exactly what happened to two people from Goodwood, Cape Town, who’ve now been together for the past five months.

In 1973 Hannie Fourie (née Barry), who was 12 at the time, was one of a group of schoolchildren staying in Die Burger beach house in Muizenberg for the December holidays.

The now love of her life, James Cooper, who was 11 at the time and from another school, was there too.

After the holiday ended, they carried on with their separate lives for the following 46 years, never thinking they’d see each other again or fall in love.

But that all changed in August last year when James (now 57) moved to Goodwood and bumped into Hannie (now 58).

When they started talking about Die Burger beach house, they realised they’d been there at the same time as children and also recalled fancying each other a little.

James revealed that he couldn’t remember everything from that holiday but when he chatted to his cousin about it, the cousin confirmed Hannie and James had been there at the same time.

Love letter James Cooper wrote to Hannie Fourie

James vaguely recalls giving a shy girl in the corner a peck on the cheek back then but couldn’t remember exactly who she was – until they met again.

Hannie says she recalls having a picture of the whole group that’d been staying in the house but unfortunately hasn’t been able to find it.

What both she and James could find is a letter Hannie wrote him at the end of the holiday, which he’d kept all these years.

“I believe I wrote James that letter because I fancied him,” Hannie says.

The pair revealed that they have good memories of that holiday in Muizenberg.

“James remembers all the games we’d play in the hall in the evenings. I remember the many beds in the large dormitory where we girls slept.

“Every evening, they gave us a spoonful of cod liver oil – I liked it and would get right back in line for another dose. We both also recall frolicking in the ocean with our friends,” Hannie tells YOU.

Hannie, who’s a secretary at a security company, and James, who’s worked for Transnet ever since he graduated high school, have both been married and are both now widowed.

James says Hannie’s beauty attracted him to her after all the years.

“For my part, I thought, ‘Ag, get to know him – you never know’,” Hannie says.

Hannie revealed that they’re very happy together and are planning on getting engaged soon.