The Sunday Mail
THEIRS is a rare and incredible love story.
The husband, Charles Shonhiwa, is blind and his wife, Judith Mutsaya, has clubfoot — a hereditary defect in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position.
She uses crutches to move.
But their unique situation fortifies their love.
They have refused to let society’s negative vibes destroy their eight-year marriage.
And, it is times like Valentine’s Day that remind them of the beautiful gift of love they have shared for close to a decade.
Shonhiwa has never skipped spoiling his wife on February 14 — a day specifically dedicated to celebrating love.
“From the day we got married, I have never failed to buy my wife a Valentine’s gift,” said the lanky Shonhiwa.
But, how does he choose his presents considering his condition?
Actually, his situation is a bit complicated as he has over the years discovered that Mutsaya is a fashionista.
“I have since discovered that she likes fashion, dresses in particular. And I always buy one for her as a Valentine’s gift. I cannot choose one for her, but I make sure that I provide the money.
“In addition, I also get her another gift of my choice, including a bunch of flowers or taking her out.”
He said his wife — who was donning a royal blue designer dress during the interview — was particular about her hairstyle.
“She does not compromise on quality,” added Shonhiwa with a smile.
However, Mutsaya does not believe ladies should buy Valentine’s gifts for men.
“Men should do that (buy presents). However, I often spoil my husband with fancy homemade meals and lunch or dinner dates,” she said.
Shonhiwa’s biggest wish is to one day have his sight restored so that he can be able to see his wife with his own eyes.
The couple lives in Park Town, Harare, and is fond of calling each other honey.
The seemingly inseparable pair is planning to cement their love story, which began in 2014, by walking down the aisle.
“We want to wed this year. However, we are not sure how we will do it because of financial constraints.
‘‘But, by God’s grace we are optimistic something will come up,” said Mutsaya, as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Shonhiwa is currently the Movement Church’s head of retention ministry and follow-up, while Mutsaya is set to graduate later this year as a high school mathematics teacher.
She enrolled for a diploma in education at Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College in 2019.
How they met
Born in Kambuzuma as the third-born in a family of seven, Shonhiwa became visually impaired at a young age due to measles.
Initially, he was prescribed spectacles.
After completing school in 1995, he got employed at a local shop and automatically became a breadwinner following his father’s retirement.
In 1997, he got involved in a serious scuffle that landed him in hospital before totally claiming his vision a few days later.
“I passed out after being punched in the head. A few days later, I completely lost my eyesight.
‘‘At first, I thought it was temporary; I hoped to recover and go back to work,” he said.
Spirited efforts by eye specialists to restore his sight were in vain.
“When the doctors delivered the news that my condition was likely going to be permanent, my world crumbled. I lost all hope and self-esteem.”
Now blind and jobless, his then-girlfriend immediately dumped him.
The church became his refuge as he searched for miracles.
However, with time, he accepted his new position.
Instead of always grumbling, he sought ways to improve his life.
In 2006, he enrolled at Dorothy Duncan Centre to study Braille before taking up a computer course later in 2014 at the same institute.
It is during that time that he met Mutsaya’s younger sister, who is also visually impaired.
She would eventually talk him into dating her sister, who was then based in Mutare. Having gone through a massive heartbreak, Shonhiwa was sceptical at first.
“I had gone through a series of heartbreaks, so I had vowed to stop dating, but her younger sister kept pushing,” he said with a chuckle.
“I then established contact with Mutsaya and we would frequently call each other.
“At first, I thought it would not work out because of distance, but in a short time, we became close.”
Later that year, the two got customarily married.
They agreed to put on hold plans to start a family to allow Mutsaya the chance to first complete her diploma.
Shonhiwa said his wife’s golden voice was sweet melody that always compensate for his inability to see her.
While he has since lost hope of regaining his eyesight, the positive compliments from relatives and friends about his wife’s looks at times make him feel he needs to restore his sight.
“I know she is beautiful. It would have been nice to see her. The remarks create this craving,” said Shonhiwa.
“Others may question issues of trust, but, for us, it is not an issue . . . She is also in charge of our finances and loves my family. Although we moved out of my parents’ house, she makes sure they are provided for.”
Mutsaya loves the way his husband always look calm and collected.
She believes visually impaired guys are natural charmers.
“He has his way around me. His love is unconditional and I respect him for that,” she said.
The two spend some of their spare time at home catching up on sports.
“My husband loves listening to sports commentary, while I love watching movies, and we have learned to compromise.”
Mutsaya does most of the household chores. However, Shonhiwa has to fetch water and hang laundry on the washing line for her.