A half-knit jersey was the key to a lifelong love affair between Frederick, 85, and Muriel Dippenaar, 80, from Kewtown, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday March 23.
The couple met in Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, in 1952.
On the day they met, Ms Dippenaar happened to be walking past Mr Dippenaar while she was busy knitting. He politely asked her if she could finish an incomplete jersey someone had knitted for him. She agreed, and shortly after, their friendship flourished.
“After we became friends, Ms Dippenaar asked me to come meet her parents, as she told them I am from Porterville originally, and because they also had family from there, they thought we might know each other’s families. It turns out that they didn’t know my family.
“Viermaande later, het ek haar ouers gevra of ek met haar kan gesels. (After four months, I asked her parents if I could be her boyfriend). I knew from the first time I saw her, however, that my search for a wife was over,” Mr Dippenaar said.
MsDippenaar added that the feeling was mutual.
“I felt the same way. I knew he was the man for me.”
After dating for five years, the couple were married at the Ebenezer church in District Six in 1957.
They lived in Dorp Street, Bo-Kaap for four years, where three of their five daughters were born, before moving to Kewtown.
When asked if they ever imagined their marriage would last this long, Mr Dippenaar said: “The day I got married, I told myself this is for keeps. I wanted my children to be happy, and therefore, we never argued in front of our children. We are not rich – I didn’t earn a lot of money that time. During apartheid, coloured people earned less than white people.”
Ms Dippenaar believes God blessed theirmarriage, because they put him first.
“Love, respect and forgiveness are very important in a marriage, but the main thing is that you need to know the Lord in your marriage. We also honoured our parents and cared for both our mothers when they were frail. This is why God is blessing us. I didn’t work, because Mr Dippenaar didn’t believe I must work. God has looked after us all these years,” she said.
Ms Dippenaar added that she loves her husband now more that she did the day they got married.
“I am so grateful for his humour – there’s never a dull moment. Yes, we had our challenges like any other marriage, but it is all about what you make from it. Now I can encourage others, and I stand on God’s promises.”
Mr Dippenaar said he woke at 5am on the day of their anniversary, and their lives played out in front of him.
“I can’t believe how quickly the 60 years have gone. It feels like it was just yesterday when we got married,” he said.
The Dippenaars have five daughters, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.