Doing life with your best friend

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Photo: Amy White Media • Connective consulting: Kim Griffith Jones • MUAH: Lizzi from Accentuate Hair and Makeup Academy • Venue: Inchanga Railway Station

Tracy and Marius Klokie are quite possibly one of the cutest couples on the planet. Over nearly three decades, they’ve have built not only a thriving business enterprise, but a family – two kids and a menagerie of cats and dogs – on a foundation of laughter, music, good food and love.

Passionate, empathetic, quirky and feisty, Tracy is a woman with a mission to make a change. As the CEO of Khwezi Solutions (a BBBEE, equity and legal compliance consultancy) and Khwezi Developments (a Seta accredited training provider), Tracy is a fierce advocate for uplifting and supporting small businesses, particularly women in business. As a wife, mother and humanitarian, Tracy is changing the status quo on hunger and desperation by refusing to be a bystander. Since the start of lockdown, together with her best friend and partner in business and life, Marius, and her dedicated team, she has worked tirelessly to upskill and feed many families in the Embo area through her NGO Hearts in Hands, and continues to work hand-in-hand with community partners to make a difference in local communities.

Photo: Amy White Media • Connective consulting: Kim Griffith Jones • MUAH: Lizzi from Accentuate Hair and Makeup Academy • Venue: Inchanga Railway Station

Truth be told, between running the business and the crazy-busy household they share with their daughter Trinity-Mia – their son Trent has flown the coop – and furry family members, there is little time for self-indulgent things. But, when they can clear their schedules, this salt-of-the-earth couple enjoy nothing more than to step outside the doors of their sea-facing, dream beach house in Pennington, to get a good dose of fresh ocean air, pop some bubbly and toast their beautiful friendship that is the foundation for their love story!

“The world tends to glamourise marriage, while the reality is that married life takes work. It took us eight years to tie the knot, but it was eight years that gave us time to get to know one another inside and out – to be friends, to be sure of what we wanted in life, to realise we were good together, to know we wanted a family, and to recognise that this was forever – there is no turning back.”

For 51-year-old Tracy, dependability, solid values and a good moral compass were what sealed the deal when it came to her falling head over heels for Marius.

“I thought he was easy on the eye when we met 28 years ago. I liked that he was kind, and over time I learned what a truly incredible human he really is. I love his sense of calm, his protective nature and how he takes care of me and the kids and is our safe space.”

On meeting Tracy for the first time, Marius says he was fascinated by her.

“Tracy is dynamic, confident in her abilities and a force to be reckoned with. She’s creative, extroverted, outspoken, different and says it like it is. I often attend meetings with her and am blown away by her passion and versatility. I am her biggest cheerleader. What I am attracted to most is her caring nature and huge capacity to love and want to help others … and when she cooks the meals that she knows I love. She certainly knows the way to a my heart!”

Photo: Amy White Media • Connective consulting: Kim Griffith Jones • MUAH: Lizzi from Accentuate Hair and Makeup Academy • Venue: Inchanga Railway Station

The couple, who are passionate foodies and love entertaining, believe that no matter how much or little you enjoy cooking, cooking together goes a long way towards a strong relationship. Their cookbook Lockdown Recipes by the Kitchen King and Queen is a tribute to this.

“We compiled the book during the pandemic as a means to connect during a difficult time and keep the anxiety at bay. We had copies printed and gifted them to family and friends as a keepsake of the best recipes we’d tried our hands at during lockdown. Needless to say, we put on loads of weight LOL!”

Kitchen adventures aside, both agree that admiration and respect for one another, quality time together and acts of service are their love languages.

“We have a bucket list of things to do together – from a hot new eating spot we want to try or a local meander for the day, to a country we have been dying to explore,” says Tracy, who adds that small gestures of kindness and appreciation between them have made a big difference to their lives. “Like buying Marius the nougat I know he loves, or him getting me a peppermint crisp chocolate that he knows is my guilty pleasure. I wake up to a cup of coffee on my bedside table every morning that allows me to ease into my day. It’s these small things that mean the most.”

Photo: Amy White Media • Connective consulting: Kim Griffith Jones • MUAH: Lizzi from Accentuate Hair and Makeup Academy • Venue: Inchanga Railway Station

The couple, who celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary in May, are big on marking this occasion, using it as an excuse to take some much-needed time off of work.

“We had the most incredible anniversary last year. We celebrated in Thailand for 10 days with two other couples who are close friends. It was our first trip away without kids. We rode scooters, went out to sky bars for fine dining and drinks, visited local eateries and had cocktails, did loads of site-seeing, made incredible memories, reconnected with each other and truly fell in love all over again.”

This year they’re taking the kids along and heading to Vietnam for the memory-making.

“The older we get, the less we are about gifts and, the more we are about experiences.”

And speaking of gifts, although Valentine’s Day is around the corner, the couple say they don’t really make a big deal about the occasion or the kinds of gestures that most might exchange over breakfast in bed or a romantic dinner.

“Neither of us has ever been particularly enamoured with the idea that romance and love is limited to one day. We consistently make time for romance and date nights during the year, as we love a good excuse to enjoy cocktails and Thai cuisine, or stay home and open a bottle of Champagne or wine, and have a family sushi date night.”

When it comes to keeping the romance alive, two kids and all these years down the line, Tracy and Marius say bubble baths, downing tech time and a united front are a must.

“With our busy lives, and the kid’s schedules, it is important that we put down our phones and be in the moment as a family. As a couple, a good series in bed, a quick coffee date, being in the kitchen, shopping, and beach walks with the dogs, are regular habits we enjoy as a means of spending quality time together.”

Tracy and Marius also say that knowing and encouraging one another to enjoy the things they are individually most passionate about, is key to a happy married life.

“Marius knows I love gardening and reading and encourages me to do these things to decompress. He loves cycling, exercising and getting into the water. I love it when he is able to find the time for these things that fill his cup. When you do life with your best friend, it really can be fairly easy and uncomplicated. This genuinely has been the most incredible journey together. God willing, we will be afforded another 24 years together.”

Photo: Amy White Media • Connective consulting: Kim Griffith Jones • MUAH: Lizzi from Accentuate Hair and Makeup Academy • Venue: Inchanga Railway Station

Quickfire

If your better half was a drink …

Marius: Tracy would definitely be a shooter, probably a Tequila or Jäger shot, because she’s fun and full of mischief.

Tracy: Marius would be a Black Label draught or a rum and coke – solid and dependable.

The last message you sent to one another …

We live and work together, so we don’t really have a need to send each other messages. If we do, it’s usually a reminder to action something work-related or about the kids. Not very romantic, but it’s reality. We do have a mischievous side to us, and send each other naughty gifs and memes when we are in company though LOL!

The first gift you ever got from one another …

Tracy: Flowers. And it’s something that has perpetuated throughout our relationship. Not on birthdays or anniversaries, but constantly and out the blue for no reason other than because he knows I love flowers, especially sunflowers. He also gave me a kitchen dustbin, because it bothered him that I didn’t have one.

Marius: I got a really nice fragrance. Tracy has always appreciated a man who smells nice.

CREDITS

Photo: Amy White Media, 082 494 8887 • Connective consulting: Kim Griffith Jones, 076 612 9060 • MUAH: Lizzi from Accentuate Hair and Makeup Academy, professionalmakeupartist.co.za, @accentuateacademy • Venue: Inchanga Railway Station

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