In the recently published memoir, The Love Diary of a Zulu Boy, Bhekisisa Mncube delves into a variety of topics, relating his various forays into the comedic, tragic and romantic.
However, it’s the romantic aspects of the book that have proven to be the most intriguing as he goes into detail about the challenges of being married to a white, English woman.
While interracial relationships have become a lot more commonplace, there are still a number of hurdles that many couples face.
From being stared at in the streets, to dealing with friends and family who don’t necessarily approve of the relationship, love across the colour line somehow feels more difficult because it often feels like you have to jump through hoops in order for your relationship to be seen as valid.
But our ever hopeful hearts know that many couples are happily married or coupled up and while they don’t deny the difficulties of enduring discrimination, the following readers who shared their stories wouldn’t change a thing.
*Reader responses have been edited for clarity and due to length and some names have been changed for the purpose of anonymity.
Ronald and his wife are happily married, but still endure some subtle racism from his wife’s family:
I've also married across colour lines, but fortunately for me, my parents and friends never had a problem with our marriage from the get go.
On my wife's side of the family on the other hand there has been a bit of subtle racism towards our marriage, but for us, we've never really bothered to entertain people's stereotypes.
What matters to us is that the people we care most about, have no problem with our marriage so other peoples’ own close mindedness is something that is their own problem.
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But, what happens when you’re gay and dating across the colour line? This reader, *Jeff shares his experience:
I am a 31 year old gay white male and gender privileged in every sense of the word.
I come from a mostly white schooling system and an almost only white and privileged background. I have only ever dated white guys, but secretly found some men of other colours attractive, but mostly took no notice of that because even in the gay community it's a taboo.
I think an attitude change for me was when I was in varsity and went to a mostly black campus. It revealed prejudices in myself and exposed them also in black students.
While here I made a good friend who was black, and I developed a crush on him. Nothing came of it because he was straight, but it showed a different side to my sexuality that I didn't even know existed within me, albeit buried very deep within.
Since that time, which was about eight years ago, I have only dated white men, until fairly recently while living in Cape Town I had my first experience being with a man of another colour.
On this occasion we were in well a known gay club and we kissed. I will tell you that while we had no overt hassles from anyone, I could feel the stares from people.
Some of those felt like they were more judging me than the guy I was with because I was white in a mostly white club and I chose to be with this guy. So definitely I felt that come from a lot of people that night.
I don't look at colour anymore, and have been with another man of colour since then, although the man I am now in love with is white.
Not everyone has to be attracted to a person of another colour, but personally I am happy I broke through my own prejudices.
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Some couples manage to escape discrimination entirely - Like Fanie's experience:
I am white and am married to a black woman. We live in Johannesburg and experience almost no discrimination!
While others have to not only deal with discrimination because of colour, but also because of different religious backgrounds. René shares what she's faced:
I am in a relationship with an Indian man. I have no shame in being with him because he is a wonderful man with the best heart and treats me with respect.
People, however, look at us like we are from Mars and one of my uncles dislikes me because I am a) dating across the colour line and b) my partner is Muslim.
To a large part of my family it is a huge no-no and him being Muslim is absolutely offensive.
When black people who know me realised that I am dating an Indian man they where gob-smacked.
It is very disheartening to see that racism is indeed alive and well in South Africa even after all this time being part of the “rainbow nation.”
I am being called a liberal nut and some more colourful names but, you know what? I do not care because I found a man that I can relate to and who treats me like I am a human being.
READ MORE: Is the first year of marriage really the hardest?
Louie shares how living in different African countries helped to shape how his children, who are not dating across the colour line – grew up.
We were fortunate to work in different African countries while our children grew up. They went to schools where colour was not an issue. I remember them celebrating International days, and often saw kids from more than two dozen countries.
My wife and I grew up in apartheid South Africa and clearly the untold pain and suffering caused by racism. We were not going to allow this to continue for another generation. So we took the deliberate decision to bring up non-racist children.
We made a point to often point out to them that all people have equal worth.
It was clear to us that because of our decision, there would always be the possibility that they might fall in love across racial or colour lines. It was not something that kept me awake at night, although it concerned my wife somewhat due to the possible repercussion from our ‘friends’ and family.
We returned to South Africa in 2004 when they were in senior school. Due to their exposure to other races they easily made friends across racial lines, despite the racial divisions that still exist here in all walks of life.
Fast forward to 2018. My youngest is married to a Dutch girl, and the elder is dating an Indian girl.
Funny enough, even the Dutch girl caused some racial reaction, despite both of them being white.
But I was not prepared for the reaction I got since the elder dated an Indian.
WATCH: Interracial relationship confessions
I will spare you the detail, but even close family members and friends which I always thought of as non racist, couldn’t help showing their true colours, so to speak.
I quickly discovered that racism is much more entrenched in our psyche than I ever believed. My dream of getting rid of it in one generation has flown out the window.
It is so very sad that this is so. Why people think that their race (whatever the word means) is better than another race is beyond me. What it there to preserve? Your race is not pure, anyway. No such thing exists. Who are we to judge other people and their choices for a partner?
The crap story that their kids are not going to belong anywhere is also absolute nonsense. I’ve seen very happy kids from every imaginable colour grow up and become very happy, functional, intelligent human beings.