Durban couple celebrate 72 years of marriage. Seventy-two years ago, Ramiah and Attachama “Lilly” Freddy vowed to love and respect each other, and they have kept their promise.

Durban couple celebrate 72 years of marriage

“Respect, honour, fair decision-making, strong religious beliefs and love are what kept our bond intact, said Ramiah Freddy, this week.

The 92-year-old and his almost-89-year-old wife celebrated their anniversary among family and friends on Saturday at their home in Chatsworth.

“We had a small luncheon with some of our near and dear ones,” said Freddy.

He said they had an arranged marriage.

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“I lived with my parents in Seaview in Rossburgh and Lilly and her family lived in Bayside in Durban Central. Our dads used to meet on their way to work and they became friends. Our fathers saw respect in each other. While speaking about their children, my dad realised that I would be a good fit for Lilly, based on the upbringing of her parents,” said Freddy.

“We met for the first time when my parents and I went to her home to ask for her hand in marriage. We did not have a choice on who we could marry back then. We had to fall in love with each other. It was our parents’ wishes and we respected them. We did not question their choice.”

He said Lilly’s parents agreed to the union.

“We were not allowed to talk privately following this. Due to the culture of the era, it was considered to be disrespectful to our elders. So, we had not spoken to each other until our marriage as we trusted our parents’ choices and decisions and followed accordingly.”

The couple had a Hindu ceremony at a temple in Short Street in Durban.

Freddy, who worked at a brewery company at the time, was 21, and Lilly was 17.

Recalling the wedding ceremony, Lilly said she wore a sari and Ramiah a suit. Their guests ate vegetable breyani.

“It rained extremely heavily on our wedding day, but it was definitely showers of blessings,” she said.

After marriage, they lived with Ramiah’s dad in Seaview. Due to the Group Areas Act, the family was moved to Bayview in Chatsworth in 1961.

Lilly said that living with Freddy’s family was pleasant and lively.

“We lived with his siblings and parents. We were one big happy family. No one lacked anything even though they were not well to do. Everyone always shared what they had with each other.”

She said they converted to Christianity after Freddy became ill.

The couple went on to have eight children, 19 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. Their youngest daughter lives in Australia.

Freddy and Lilly share their home with their 62-year-old unmarried son.

In their spare time, Freddy enjoys gardening, while Lilly loves cleaning and reading the Bible.

“My favourite meals to prepare are vegetable curries. We enjoy being in our own home as it is a safe place and it is most comfortable for us. We would not trade our home for any place in this world,” said Lilly.

“We also like to be updated on what is happening in the world, so we are always watching the news. Ramiah enjoys watching cricket and soccer. He was a great soccer player back in his days and he won many competitions and trophies. He represented Mayville and was a well-known soccer player in Durban,” she said.

Freddy said: “Lilly was unable to read and write. With the knowledge I have, I teach her how to read and write. We also enjoy spending quality time together and with family. We spend a lot of time giving advice to young children and learning more about the Bible. The highlight of our marriage is our love which allowed us to produce eight beautiful children.”

Lilly said it was important that couples be mindful of each other.

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“We do not fight but solve issues in a calm and polite manner. We advise newly-married couples to be respectful, to honour each other and be sure to discuss everything, no matter if it is good or bad.”

She said they did not believe in domestic workers or appliances like washing machines.

“We do everything for ourselves. Our clothes get washed immediately after bathing and are put on the line. We always match our clothes in our wardrobes. Each colour of my sari or dress has a shirt of Ramiah’s to match me,” said Lilly.

The couple, who have travelled to Australia and New Zealand, said their health was fairly good for their ages.


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