By Dumisani Dube
Happiness cannot be found in wine only. I love my red wine in an Olivia Pope glass especially if my nerves are a wreck. Surprisingly this couple had virgin mojitos on their first date, quite unusual for a queer date, but yeah it happens. Madonna would be happy, like a virgin, touched for the very first time, I mean the Mojito!
At the very first time I entered the space of this couple I sensed a lot of positive energy in the room. Love, laughter and tears punctuated our chilled conversation. The smiles on both their faces were testimony that love lives here. If happiness was a couple this should be one, I said to myself.
Businessman and marketing guru Liam Van Vuuren and Model and actor Ruan Sinden are in what they call a one year, still fresh relationship. They met on Facebook! It all began when Ruan sent a friendship request and within seconds Liam, who was going through a divorce, accepted. This swift reaction from Liam led to a sober date after a game of rugby. And the rest is history.
After unfortunate circumstances caused by the COVID pandemic befell Ruan, they were forced to move in together. Lockdown gave them a chance to learn from and with each other. Lockdown forced this cute couple to spend intimate time with each other, and as they say they were forced to unfold and be the best of themselves to each other.
Shy Ruan was raised by his grandparents and was left to fend for himself at the age of 14. Since he was not in any kind of a relationship with his mother and father there was no one to take care of him. He got himself into drugs, in which at a later stage he called himself out, telling himself that his past experience was not going to determine his future. Liam is charmed and chuffed “This is one person I am most proud of.” he speaks. Ruan is fixing his relationship with his dad and his mom is still absent. Sometimes it only needs self-retrospection to see that the direction you are going in is not the one, bravo Ruan!
Liam interprets his three year marriage in an emotional state with a tear-drop that he tries to avoid, sending us all into a time of silence. We regrouped and he continued to tell me that his relationship was an abusive one hence it failed. He stayed in it for so long because he felt obligated to be an example that gay relationships work. He didn’t want it to fail. But when it failed and he found Ruan he was happy, “I have finally found my voice.” He describes his Ruan as his equal who works harder than him, a partner who has pushed him beyond his limits. I need me some Ruan!
Liam and Ruan are involved in projects that aim to uplift the Queer community. But, in most cases this is met with a backlash because of their age difference. Ruan is unbothered about what people say of their age difference. While Liam has been challenged by his own friend whom he says have judged his partner so quickly because of age. They have consistently made lame jokes like “Where is your kid?” and are of the opinion that he wants to take control of his younger bae.
Liam and Ruan are couple goals, they do almost everything together, co-host of a radio show together and they are both finalists at Mr. Westrand.
Family is important to these two. They are passionate about making this Christmas a better one for those who have not had the privilege to spend it with their own families. They will be reaching out to families that have been rehoused, bringing them food and toys for children as putting smiles on other people’s faces is what they are all about.
An Afrikaaner Liam and Irish by descent Ruan, consider family as a great support needed by every queer person. “Suicide rates are so high in the queer community because of how some families have received the news of their sexual preference and rejected them. They turn to drugs and alcohol abuse, which is sad.” Liam continues to say “I am still the same person I was at nine, what has changed is that I have accepted myself.”
Even though it took time for his family to accept as his dad is a preacher, Liam is excited that he and his partner will be spending this Christmas with his family. Ruan is all smiles and that tells me he is not going to burn the Turkey. Mariah Carey: It’s Christmas time once again!