Showmax hosted a small gathering at the Morrells Boutique Estate in Northcliff to launch the ultimate episode of Somizi and Mohale – The Union, this week. Last month the show broke the record for the most views on its first day of streaming.
Somizi Mhlongo strolls into the venue very relaxed. He puts his Louis Vuitton tote bag down, after smoking a cigarette in the luxurious garden.
Then he shares his concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus breakout and how, on the plane to Johannesburg, he was scared to fall asleep and inadvertently touch his seat belt buckle or the arm rest.
His better half Mohale Motaung saunters in wearing shorts, a turquoise hat and matching satin shirt. Once settled they explain what they have been up to since tying the knot in September last year and the experience of sharing their lives.
Sho, one thing people don’t talk about is that marriage is not the honeymoon phase throughout
Mohale jumps in first: “I think the traditional wedding was the most important [ceremony]. It brought families together.”
Somizi chimes in: “And the ancestors.”
“Yes, that too. And it was a ceremony even though we did film it. But it was away from the public [eye] and we got to realise that there is love from the family and even people who never understood what homosexuality is. Not that it’s their fault as we grew up in communities where we don’t know what being gay is. They’re really trying to be understanding and accommodating.”
Holding his husband’s hand, Somizi explains: “For me, what we’ve managed to keep us going was not formalising how we live and how we speak to each other or the language of love [we use] or having fun. We wanted everything to be a continuation, still keeping the foundation of why we got together [in the first place] and what makes us really enjoy each other’s company in sharing this life thing together.”
Somizi says they were trying to avoid the contractual obligations of marriage and how these could impact their relationship. But he says it’s like they’re still dating and clubbing. The only major difference is that now they are building a financial empire together.
The pair has had to learn to tolerate certain things and make compromises, as is the nature of marriage. “Sho, one thing people don’t talk about is that marriage is not the honeymoon phase throughout. For both of us, it’s our first marriage. So it’s not like I have experience and I can navigate my way [through this]. We are both new to it, so things still come as a shock,” says Somizi.
He says he relates more with Mohale now. For instance, when Mohale is upset, it’s best to allow him some breathing space before discussing it, which is a compromise Somizi has learnt.
“I have personally learnt to dissect certain things. When you do things in a particular way, you expect other people to just understand you even though you haven’t taken the time to explain the kind of person you are or how you like things done,” says Mohale.
He says he may not always have been the most expressive person, but having the motivation to ensure his marriage works has helped him relate to other people as well – by expressing his point of view more.
What about the opposition they experienced when they decided to get married, in such a publicised way?
“In the beginning there was a lot of negativity and a lot of questions. There were a lot of ‘nos’ from certain family members. They were shocked as I think people have their own expectations for who you should date and who is right for you – irrespective of whether you want that or not.
“They also didn’t understand what was going through our hearts and minds or our decisions. But with time, and accepting that it really was not about them, they were able to forget about themselves and focus on what they saw [in us],” says Mohale.
Family members were invited and attended the wedding and have given the union their blessing.
Somizi adds: “I mean I’m older than him, so I had faced those challenges. By the time we met all of that [challenges around his sexuality] was a walk in the park. And now as he [Mohale] explains, they [family members] are our biggest champions.”
Looking to the future and starting a family, the pair, who have been engrossed in each other’s words throughout, pause and share a smile. The two are planning to have children, twins if they can, in two years’ time.
“Yes, but the planning has to start now,” Mohale says. “[We will use] surrogates and so we have to do a lot of interviews,” says Somizi.
“Definitely, which is a process. Firstly, to find the surrogate, [do] the medical and IQ tests ... and lots of things. If word gets out that we’re looking for surrogates, a lot of people will start saying they can do [it for us] but a lot of people might be doing it for the wrong reasons,” Mohale says.
He reveals that Somizi likes children “a little more” than he does. The most important lessons they have learnt from sharing their lives is almost what you might expect from a relationship with a 24-year age gap.
“Communication from my side, being able to express myself and really being able to be a go-getter and living the way you want,” Mohale says, as he looks longingly at his husband.
Says Somizi in response: “For me, patience – to breathe in and out. Before this, I lived for the moment ... wanting things to happen [right] now. Meeting him has taught me patience and to be accepting of a person for who they are – their glory and their flaws – which is a beautiful thing. I’m getting more in touch with my own flaws too.”