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Clubview couple celebrates 60 years together

Berda and George Coetzee say their secret to a very happy marriage is mutual respect, and teamwork.

A Centurion couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with family and reflected on a life spent together deeply in love.

Berda was a radiographer who worked across the country, while George worked in the civil engineering industry, spending years at the University of Pretoria as a technical assistant.

The couple have now retired, and live with family in Clubview.

Berda and George Coetzee met on a blind date at the 1959 Tukkies Rag dance.

“It was on May 2 – at that time I tried to study at the University of Pretoria, and a friend of mine, who had a girlfriend, asked his girlfriend to organise a blind date for me so that we could go to the dance,” explains George.

“He was under obligation to his senior,” says Berda. “The senior told him that he could not come to the dance without a date.”

So, my friend who stayed with me in the res came to me and said, you have a date for tonight!

I thought she was joking. But she told me to make sure that I had a dress and got my hair done.”

Her friend told Berda that she would answer the door and bring in the blind date to wait for her in the lounge.

“I had no idea what this guy looked like.

George and Berda Coetzee celebrating

I was on the top floor, and as I came down the stairs, he was standing at the bottom of the stairs, watching me come down.”

George said that he remembered the first time he set eyes on her very well.

He said she came off as a country girl from a small town.

“I grew up in the city, I just remember thinking how am I going to handle this now, how do you approach a small-town girl?

She looked so smart, she was wearing a white-ish dress with roses on it and I was dressed up as a cowboy.”

Both Berda and George never thought that two people from different worlds would end up spending the rest of their lives together.

They soon realised they wanted to do exactly that and George began working to get the blessing of his future father-in-law.

“My dad wanted me to marry a doctor,” explained Berda.

“So he refused to give his permission, but eventually my aunt spoke to him, and he finally gave his blessing.”

After five years, on May 16, 1964, the couple finally got married in Bloemfontein, in between both families’ hometowns.

They soon had four sons and built their lives together.

The couple has been blessed with four sons.

“We had our ups and downs,” explains George.

“You can’t expect life to just be rose petals all the way, but it is the give and take, the respect, that makes it work.

We are a team, and we are our own people.”

“There’s only one third person in our marriage,” says Berda.

“And that is Jesus. It is through his grace that we know how to work through anything that we have had to face.”

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