How xenophobia affects this multinational couple

How xenophobia affects this multinational couple

Married couple Rodalle Lynn, a South African, and Patrick Nanthambwe from Malawi, chat to us about being a multinational couple, and how xenophobic attacks have impacted their lives.

How xenophobia affects this multinational couple
Rodalle and Patrick/ Facebook

Love knows no colour and nationality. For Patrick, the first time he saw Rodalle in 2015, he knew she was the one. He says it was love at first sight. But, Rodalle, on the other hand, was in a relationship with someone else and had no interest in Patrick.

Things changed when the two of them started spending time together, and shortly after that, Rodalle says she realised Patrick had all the characteristics of a man she wanted to marry.

“In 2016 Patrick proposed, I was shocked because I never thought he was the one, because he wasn’t my type until he spoke to me about how he felt. So, we prayed about it and spent time with each other,” says Rodalle.

She says shortly after that they became best friends and she started developing feelings for him. By that time, she had broken up with the man she was with because she says she knew he wasn’t the right guy for her.

Rodalle and Patrick
Rodalle and Patrick/ Supplied

Patrick and Rodalle got married in 2017. But despite the two of them loving each other, and having a great marriage, Rodalle says dealing with societal stereotypes about foreign nationals has not been easy.

“I was concerned about my parents and what people would say. In my Indian culture, if you marry someone outside your race, especially black or a foreign national, it’s a disgrace and embarrassment to the family,” says Rodalle.

She says that she is still being mocked by some of her relatives, but doesn’t allow it to bother her, because her parents love Patrick.

Patrick, on the other hand, says his family loves Rodalle and had no problem with him marrying a South African woman.

Patrick and Rodalle
Patrick and Rodalle/ Supplied

However, the two of them live in fear because of the xenophobic attacks happening in the country.

“It has brought a lot of fear,” says Rodalle. “When he leaves the house, you never know what’s going to happen. With Patrick not knowing the African languages, people have taken advantage of him. It’s a lot of fear and we are considering moving,” says Rodalle.

Patrick adds that he also gets “nervous of what’s going to happen”.

He says he wishes people understood that not all foreign nationals are in the country illegally, and not all of them commit crime.

“Others are genuine and authentic and don’t do drugs, and we don’t take people’s jobs. The way of handling it is wrong. They shouldn’t burn people’s properties. The government needs to talk and discuss how to solve these matters.

The two say although they love South Africa, they can’t constantly live in fear. “I don’t know how things are going to be moving forward. Xenophobia didn’t just start now. It started a while ago. So , we can’t have confidence that things will be resolved. We can’t have confidence that it’s not going to come again,” says Patrick.

READ: "It's not xenophobia, it's more than that!" Bongani states

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