Natalie Maimane: Who is the woman behind the DA's main man in charge?

Natalie Maimane: Who is the woman behind the DA's main man in charge?

While any successful man's wife tends to get a little bit of attention because of her famous husband, few tend to really get to know the woman herself. All too often a woman with much to offer in her own right is overshadowed by her high profile partner

PAY ATTENTION: Click “See First” under the “Following” tab to see News on your News Feed! decided it was high time we took a look at the wife of DA's leader, Mmusi Maimane. Natalie's story is less well known and we aim to change that in five simple steps.

Opposite sides of the tracks

Mmusi grew up in Soweto and Natalie in Roodepoort which was separated by just a railway line, but in some ways were worlds apart. They met at church when Natalie was just 15 years old.

In an interview with a magazine Natalie said neither of them can really recall their first encounter, suggesting it was definitely not a "love at first sight" scenario. “Clearly we didn’t make a big impression on each other,” she said, laughing, while her husband during the interview joked that she had been “looking for a BEE partner”.

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Once love arrived it all happened fast

Natalie and Mmusi were friends for years before dating, but eventually they found their friendship turned into romantic love. Once that had happened, it took just six months before Mmusi took the plunge and asked her to marry him. Nine months later, they wed in the church where they met with a traditional wedding the next day. “We had a white wedding on the Saturday and on the Sunday a traditional wedding in Dobsonville with a traditional shweshwe wedding dress and all,” Natalie said.

His parents were the ones who worried

Natalie’s parents apparently didn’t have any problem with Mmusi, but his blue-collar working parents were a little worried that the white and well-educated girl from Roodepoort might be “a bit too posh for him.

Natalie, however made an effort to fit in from the start and that, they said, made all the difference. “I realised they no longer saw Natalie’s colour when my grandmother took her to task for standing in line for food at a funeral reception, instead of helping the women to prepare the food, as happens in our culture,” Mmusi reportedly said in 2014.

Natalie is an English and History expert

Natalie has a degree in English and history from the former Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg) and said her love for language went together well with her strong religious beliefs. “Faith was a common ground for us, our church was incredibly multi-racial and multi-classed,” she explained.

Natalie isn't "colourblind"

Natalie is often being asked about her “mixed-race” relationship in South Africa. She said she believes that ending racism is not about “not seeing colour” as some would have us believe. “It’s not about not seeing colour, it’s about seeing one another and understanding the history where that person comes from. Making space for that person and finding a commonality in that space."

She is quick to point out that colour is an important part of a person's identity especially in a country such as ours with a history of social inequality. "You can’t just ignore that part of the person’s identity, because it’s related to a whole social aspect in our country,” she said.

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