People used to laugh at them and call them a disgrace in the community. Even their parents used to hate them. One thing which remained constant after long seven years is their love seven years later, Priscilla and Collen still smile every time they looked into each other’s eyes and hands and smile at each other like the first day they met, and the age gap is no longer an issue on everyone’s lips.
Seeing them lying under on a grass mat, sharing one pillow under a marula tree, outside their six-room house, with a bottle of? Coca-Cola to quench their thirst, one can swear that they’ve just met. However, their four-year-old baby girl shows that they have been together for longer. Pricilla and Collen are still very much in love in after the challenges they have met. “The moment I laid my eyes on her, I knew she was the one for me,” recalls, Collen.
Although Collen was 22 at the time and Priscilla was 27 with two kids, it did not matter to Collen. However, it was a big problem to people around them. The fact that Priscilla had two kids from her previous marriage and Collen had none caused more debate around their neighbourhood, “My mother used to swear and chase us away when we entered her home,” explained Collen. Nevertheless, her hatred brought them together and strengthened their love; it forced them to move in together. When Collen’s mother, Maria, learned about their love, she questioned Collen, and told him not to bring a rejected woman in her house, and begged him to find a woman of his age who had no kids. However, Collen’s heart only melted for Priscilla. “My mother chased us away the first time we entered her home, and warned that if I ever brought her again, she would chase me out of her home,” said Collen. Maria fulfilled her promised indeed when she chased Collen out of her home the second time he arrived with Priscilla. The fact that Collen was young and unemployed made, Priscilla’s mother hated him even more, saying he was after her daughter’s money she made from working as a nurse at a government hospital “It was a difficult time for us, every time I gave him food, my mother complained,” recalled Priscilla.
Their relationship also created havoc around their small community in Acornhoek, South Africa. Most people see it as disgraceful for a younger man to date an older woman because the African culture only allows men to date a younger woman not the other way around. People pointed and laughed when they saw them together holding hands or walking working on the streets, but Pricilla didn’t mind.. “I didn’t care about people, I dated a lot of older men, but no one showed me the love I have now,” said Priscilla, brushing Collen’s head.
Priscilla said the older men she dated are nothing compared to Collen, only heart breakers and users. Although Collen is younger than her, she wishes she had met him long time ago because he treats her with respect and dignity. According to her, Collen also gives her the love she needs and shows her compassion, which she didn’t have in her earlier relationship.
After Priscilla’s four-year marriage with John, her first husband failed, she decided to live by herself and raise her kids alone. However, that changed after she met Collen in church. “It was hard time because everyone didn’t approve of our love; they said we had broken our cultural rules by dating an older woman. They expected me to marry someone with no kids or a virgin girl,” said Collen.
Pastor, Kenneth Baloyi, 49, of Swiss Mission church where Collen attended said he didn’t chase Collen; he was only looking at Collen best interest. “I knew Collen as a young boy from my church. I didn’t expect him to date an older woman. He was one of the guys I expected a big white wedding with a virgin girl from. I was disappointed to learn that he was dating a woman with two kids,” he says.
Living at Priscilla’s was also difficult because Priscilla’s mother didn’t stop barking. “We decided to leave with kids and rented a room some where,” said Priscilla. Luck followed them after they moved, because Collen finally got a job as an engineer. They managed to build a six-room house of their own.
Now that Priscilla and Collen’s lives are better, everyone who cut them from their life wants a piece of what they have, including Collen’s mother. “My mother comes and asks for money at the end of every month. She also apologized for her hatred towards Collen. I still love her, but I can’t forget what she did,” said Collen. Even Priscilla’s mother is regretting the way she treated her son-in-law, and she is part of their life again.
After seven years of struggles, Priscilla and Collen with their children are happier than ever, and planning to have a white wedding later this year. “This is the man of my dreams, I wasted my life with so many losers in my life,” said, Priscilla, kissing Collen’s cheek.