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Still crazy for each other after 65 years



There is a saying that a successful marriage means falling in love many times, always with the same person, and this couldn’t be truer for Esther and Ronnie Jankelowitz.

The couple, who still work together in their agribusiness, Benfarm, in Benoni, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, 3 February.

The company, which has also stood the test of time, was started by Ronnie’s father and is more than 100 years old.

Born only a few months apart, Ronnie and Esther met at school at the age of 15, and have been together ever since, marrying at the tender age of 22.

It really was a case of love at first sight. “My sister, Judy, brought home a lovely young girl. I nearly fell over,” Ronnie says of Esther. “I was very attracted to him,” Esther says of Ronnie.

From those early days riding their bikes to school together to raising three children and still running a successful business together today in their eighties, the couple would definitely describe their experience as a “true love story”.

In their time together, Ronnie completed 17 Comrades Marathons and climbed Kilimanjaro once. Esther was an accomplished marksman and member of the Benoni Pistol Club. She won a number of awards for combat and target shooting, a skill she passed down to all her children.

“You’ve got to work on happiness,” Ronnie says. “It’s not healthy to divorce. Accept that every five years or so, there will be change. Not all your years together will be good, but you have to work together, play together, and forget.

“Give each other space, but never go on holiday apart,” Esther counsels. “Celebrate every year with your children.”

“When I turned 80, I told Esther, ‘I’m an old man, whatever I do, forgive me’,” Ronnie says.

This is the first year that the couple have had to celebrate their anniversary in masks, but they are grateful to be able to go to work every day in spite of COVID-19.

“This is the first year in 65 years that I couldn’t kiss Esther happy anniversary,” Ronnie says. “We rubbed elbows instead.”

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