What is true Romance?

By Brenton Chibuwe

I always loved wine and wine tasting was one of my favorite pastime activities. It was to my amazement when I discovered that at the Bushman Rock Safari they cater for those services. All along I thought it was a game park. I set up and went to the Bushman Safari, a good 40-minute trip from the capital, to indulge in wine tasting and a little game viewing afterwards. Word on the street was it was a marvelous environment, and it did not disappoint, with the manicured gardens and rolling lawns providing the perfect setting for the quiet contemplation of nature. The surrounding Msasa woodland provided cool shade from which to watch the polo ponies in training or the wildfowl at play on the river. I was salivating as I beheld the stunning view of the vineyards. The view was astounding yes, but it was more of my thirst for some homegrown wine which had me going.

I quickly found my way to the winery, where I was met by Nelia, my host, and she was a lovely lady and we talked for a while. “You know that Zimbabwe is actually well suited for having great vineyards.” I had no idea. “Really, why?” “We have an advantage here as Mashonaland East Province has very good viniculture potential. The sandy soils allow for good drainage and the summer sun ensures good ripening and suitable sugar levels. The cool winters and higher than average altitude ensure that the vines go dormant, recharging for the next year’s production.” She went over the details with a smile. I could tell Nelia loved her job, and that made the experience even more worthwhile.

Following my wine tasting, I embarked on my game view. A stone’s throw away from the winery I could begin to see monkeys goofing around, with the birds tweeting from the trees nearby. This environment was such a breath of fresh air—a serene environment engulfed by the beauty of nature, from the peaceful animal chatter and the sweet smell of the lilies strewn all over the park. I could see Nelia just behind me (maybe she had decided to take a small break from the winery). I walked a few further meters and saw a relatively older couple. How cute, I thought to myself: these kinds of dates are the ones I aspire to when I eventually escape the doldrums of singleness. They had found a monkey who was passionately playing with his female. I could not help but eavesdrop on their funny conversation….

His wife said to him, “What a romantic animal.” Nearby, there were lions, a lion and his lioness sitting apart from each other; the silent lion sat alone his corner as if the lioness did not exist. The conversation continued as the wife said to her man, “What a sad scene, to be without love.”

Her husband then suggested, “Throw that stone at the lioness and watch.” When she was about to throw the stone the lion roared to defend his lioness. The roar shook me, and it was more deafening close up. Then the older man asked her to repeat this with the monkeys, and when she did the monkey jumped up and climbed the tree, abandoning his female to save his own skin.

The husband then said, “Do not be deceived by what you see as romance in outward show; often times it is a deceptive appearance meant to hide an empty heart; there are others, on the contrary, who are relaxed, but their hearts are full of sincere love.” Presently, he caught my eye and said, “We have so many in the monkey shadow now, and too few lions these days.” I had moved closer to them. “Ain’t I right, kiddo,” he finished. I nodded in agreement.

“Where is your wife or girlfriend?” the lady asked.

“Still single” I quickly replied.

The man jokingly added, “another monkey we have here.”

“Everything okay my favorite people?” A familiar sweet voice broke the temporary silence. It was Nelia, heel and toe racing towards us. Maybe the roar had alarmed her.

“No, all good,” I replied. “Just had a little chat with the king of the jungle.” I don’t want lie, I found the old geezer’s humor sharp.

He then addressed Nelia. “Well it all depends, different people need different things from their respective partners.”

“Well, but that’s how life is though, sir,” Nelia replied. “Different strokes for different folks.”

“Can you stay with us for a little while?” the wife asked Nelia.

“I would love to but duty calls. I’ve got to have another wine tasting in 15 minutes, and now I go to prepare. Toddles, people.” I on the other hand stayed with the couple and talked at length as our game viewing continued, engaging in a wide number of topics from politics to sports to my work as a radiographer. The couple then departed, citing a dinner date they had planned at Cresta Oasis Hotel in the evening. What a sweet couple, I thought to myself as I accompanied them to their vehicle.


But as I sat later in the evening, I pondered more on the topic. What really is true romance? What does it really entail? I felt I had rushed to agree with the husband from that earlier conversation. Whilst it might be true that some hide their empty hearts with those outward gestures, is it not true that gestures are what keeps a relationship ticking? It isn’t every day that potential disasters befall a relationship, and you have to show your “sincere” love to your partner every day. It may sound a reasonable in theory, but practically one might be in shock.

I am no relationship expert myself, but from personal experience and as a man I’ve seen that those “small things” matter the most to the ladies—those little compliments on their outfit; the constant reminders of how beautiful they are; the physical touch (Gen-Z calls it a love language); the posting on one’s social media platforms with those cute and heartfelt captions. I believe it goes a long way to show romance. Again, without neglecting the protection and security I have to offer as a man.

Whilst there may be no true definition of what exactly is “true romance,” I strongly feel a man must develop the hybrid of the monkey and the lion, and scrap the negative traits they display, such as the monkey’s cowardly habit of running in times of trouble or the stoic demeanor exhibited by the lion in times of happiness. The dating space would be a much sounder and a happier space. But that’s just me, a humble writer from Chibuwe, offering food for thought!

6 August, 2023