WATCH | 'She is the one': A love story that started inside a minibus ferrying commuters to work

19 April 2024 - 17:21
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Kemo Mokgothu and her boyfriend Paul Motswi have been dating for about three years.
Kemo Mokgothu and her boyfriend Paul Motswi have been dating for about three years.
Image: TimesLIVE/Phathu Luvhengo

It is a love story that began when the two met in a minibus ferrying workers to Roodepoort from Bramfischerville in Soweto. 

Paul Motswi, a video of whose proposal to his girlfriend Kemo Mokgothu at a retail store in Roodepoort went viral on social media, says he always knew she was the one. 

“We travelled together in the same transport to work and it was in December 2021 at our driver's party that I made my first move.

“When I first approached her, she didn't show interest but I kept convincing her until she gave me her number. We started communicating and went on a date,” he said. 

Motswi surprised his girlfriend, a deli assistant at the Pick n Pay at Flora Centre in Florida, when he unexpectedly showed up with flowers and an engagement ring.

Engaged inside Pick 'n Pay: Heartfelt celebration for employee on April 19 2024. #SouthAfrica #News

Mokgothu, who was expecting just another normal work day, was grilling boerewors when two of her colleagues in on Motswi’s plan sent her to the front of the store, claiming she was needed to fry boerewors for a customer.

“I thought it was the customer who needed boerewors and I was busy frying boerewors. The next thing I knew, Paul was approaching me with flowers and went down on one knee. I was screaming, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Customers were telling me I was trending on social media, there was an air of excitement and everyone was cheering,” she said. 

The pair, both 43, have been dating for about three years and live together with Mokgothu’s three sons in Durban Deep.

“That morning, Paul put on a suit and I asked him why he was dressed so nicely. He said his workplace had told him to dress up and he wanted to look nice,” Mokgothu said of her husband-to-be, who works in maintenance at a telecommunications company.

“We had discussed getting married and I knew he was saving for the lobola payment, but I knew nothing of a ring,” she said. 

Motswi said he had decided to propose to his “one-of-a-kind” girlfriend at her workplace to surprise her and show her colleagues that she was “one in a million”.

“I really love her, she is so special to me and we really understand each other,” he said.

The retailer surprised the couple with an engagement cake on Friday at the store and gifted them vouchers for a wedding cake valued at R1,500 and a gift card valued at R10,000 to help with catering on their big day.

Her colleagues ululated, danced and sang as the bride-to-be joined her fiancé at the front of the store, where the store manager, Tsietsi Matsimela, awaited with a giant cake with the word celebration on it.

He congratulated the couple and handed over a box containing the surprise gifts and a message.

“Our stores have always been a place for families, making it even more meaningful to be included in such a pivotal moment in Kemo and Paul’s journey together,” said Thembi Mbengashe, chief people officer at Pick n Pay.

“Kemo has been a part of Pick n Pay for many years and we could not be happier for her, and wish the couple a lifetime of love, laughter and cherished memories.” 

Following traditional customs, the couple will discuss their plans with their families in Botlokwa village in Limpopo and in Zeerust after which a wedding date will be set for later this year.

“It will be my first wedding and I want both a white wedding as well as a traditional wedding. My mother is overjoyed, she likes Paul a lot,” Kemo said. 

Motswi bought the ring three months ago and kept it inside his car.

“Every day when I picked her up to work, the ring was always there inside the car but she didn't know and couldn't see it. She only knew that we were planning to get married one day and we were saving all those years since we met, but about the ring she didn't know,” he said.


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