Muted celebrations for Ottery couple’s 60th anniversary

Yusuf and Shariefa will be celebrating their 60th anniversary next month.

An Ottery couple celebrating 60 years of marriage agree that “people who pray together, stay together.”

However, it was not always a bed of roses for Yusuf, 79, and Shariefa Omar, 78, who will be marking their diamond anniversary on Tuesday February 2.

Ms Omar said to overcome adversities in a marriage you have to compromise and “be nice to one another.”

The secret to a long lasting marriage is not so clear cut, although “a sense of humour keeps the world going round,” said Ms Omar.

The bond that binds a relationship is not always as solid as super glue and is flexible enough to change to “Chinese glue on weekends”, Ms Omar said jokingly.

Clearly Ms Omar’s sense of humour used as a coping mechanism as a wife and mother worked. “I can’t stay cross and I never hold a grudge,” she said.

But how did these two love-birds meet? Mr Omar grew up in Claremont, where Cavendish Square is, while Ms Omar grew up in Kenilworth, where Kenilworth Centre is,” said Mr Omar.

The teenagers met when they were 19 and 18 years old.

“She used to come there with her father and mother and we became friends. I was a bread salesman and my wife a machinist at a clothing factory.”

Not long after they met, the friendship became serious and they tied the knot and stayed in Kenilworth, then moved to Lansdowne and then Rondebosch East. Eventually they settled in Grassy Park with their four children. They have nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Yusuf and Shariefa Omar in their younger days.

The couple was avid travellers before lockdown. “We travelled to Indonesia, Bali, to Bosnia and last year we went to India to visit the Taj Mahal. We were planning to go to Turkey last year but luckily we never booked because everything was put on hold due to the virus.”

Mr Omar said their anniversary will not be celebrated like their 50th because of lockdown. “Our 50th anniversary was celebrated in a hall in Wynberg but this year we will have to keep it small.”

Mr Omar believes the secret to a happy marriage is to talk out your problems. “We must understand one another. If we disagree on something I just keep quiet to keep the peace.”

His hobbies are not so much gardening but watching sports such as cricket and rugby while his wife watches soapies, said Mr Omar.

However, Ms Omar seems like a busy woman who has no time for soapies. She said: “I have suffered through many illnesses such as cancer, a stroke, and have been quarantined for Covid-19.”

She said with all the sadness in our lives we can only pray and a family who prays together stays together.