When Dave and Jacky Levett decided to tie the knot, his family said the marriage wouldn’t last six months. Sixty years later, the couple from Parklands joke it’s the longest six months they’ve ever known.
Next week the couple expect a certificate from Queen Elizabeth congratulating them on their diamond anniversary.
The queen sends congratulatory cards to British nationals celebrating their 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter.
The Levetts moved to Parklands 13 years ago and are known as Ouma and Oupa by the children in their complex.
They scaled down and sold their house in Rugby after their children had all left home.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Dave and Jacky met at a roller rink in Brighton. Jacky was only 15 and Dave 20.
“Roller rinks were a big thing in those days,” says Jacky.
Dave was born in the little village of Milton Street and had “a brood accent”.
When Jacky took him home to meet her mother, she told her mother he speaks “funny” but quickly covered up for him when her mother called him a “country bumpkin”.
“I liked rings and always wore a lot of them. One day he pointed to my ring finger and asked me what I was wearing. I said it was a friendship ring. He said one day he’d buy me a real one and I said, ‘You do that small thing,’” laughed Ms Levett.
Two years later, the couple were married on Saturday June 28 in St Anne’s church in Kemptown in Brighton. Jacky wore a mid-calf lace wedding gown and carried a rose bouquet and Dave wore a teddy boy suit with a suede collar.
The church was knocked down years ago and replaced by flats.
They honeymooned at a guest house in London and remember it “poured down every day”.
In 1970 they moved to South Africa with their four children, Maxine, Michele, Steven and Samantha.
Dave’s cousin was living in Cape Town and organised a job for him as a carpenter.
Jacky says she had no problem packing up and moving to another continent.
“I was an army brat. My father was in the army, so my mother and I used to travel with him a lot,” she says.
Jacky says they considered South Africa their home and whenever family ask if they’d consider moving back they say, “What for?”
These days, the couple spend their time sleeping in. When they’re not splitting the house chores, Jacky bakes cakes and Dave builds 3D puzzles.
Jacky says he has a lot of patience, pointing to the top of their wall unit which is filled with 3D puzzles of famous buildings. Among them are the Taj Mahal, the Kremlin and Empire State building.
Asked what makes a marriage work, Dave says it’s important to resolve arguments before bedtime.
“If you don’t settle it, it will only get bigger overnight. I pass this same message on to my children and grandchildren when they get married.”
Dave and Jacky will celebrate their diamond anniversary with a breakfast with family at Maestro’s on Saturday.