After three years of living and working in America, Thembi Cundy had reached the end of her adventure in the country. But what she thought was the end, was actually the beginning of a beautiful and unexpected love story.
Thembi’s story proves that love can be found in the least expected places and when you least expect it.
“We should not limit love because love can be found everywhere,” says Thembi. She should know, she met her future husband, Arthur Cundy, on her last day in America.
It was at the beginning of April when Thembi bid her farewells to America and all her friends. Arthur Cundy and his son Joseph, who was then 4-years-old, took a 2-hour train trip to meet Thembi and a sister from their church, who had invited Arthur and Joseph for a hangout. “The sister from church ended up not making it and so our other friends hosted us for lunch that day and we had so much fun playing tennis and soccer,” says Thembi.
Thembi took a good look at Arthur and Joseph playing soccer together and “saw a sad picture”.
“Yes, there they were, father and son playing but something was missing in the picture. And all of a sudden it dawned on me that, wait a minute, I am missing in that picture! That little boy needs a mother and that big man needs a wife who’s going to bring joy again in his life!” Thembi exclaims.
Arthur had lost his wife to sickle cell anaemia when Joseph was just 2-years-old. His prayer was that God would bless him with a good wife. He was also specific on what colours his future wife would be wearing on the day so that he would know it was her: green and yellow (green was his favourite colour and yellow was his late wife’s favourite colour).
Thembi and Joseph enjoyed each other’s company so much, he invited her to attend a church service with him the next day before her flight back home. After the service, Arthur and Joseph accompanied Thembi and her best friend, Charney, to the airport. “That was the hardest goodbye of my life. I mean, I had been in America for 3 years and on the last day I meet this special family”, she recalls. Nonetheless, there stood Thembi in a green and yellow tracksuit with the word ‘Mzansi’ printed in bold, waving them goodbye. It was in that moment when she just prayed to God for a sign. “I said Lord, I know that you determine the time and place for everything. So now I pray that if this man is going be my husband, I pray that you bring him back. I know that he’s gone now, I just saw him wave off in the car but if he is my husband, I pray Lord that you bring him back. Let me step onto that plane knowing exactly where I stand with this man. That’s my prayer,” she said.
She then waited eagerly for the sign.
“I stood at that airport. I stood waiting. People kept coming in and out. I was just there, with my luggage, waiting”, says Thembi. “You know sometimes when you pray about something and then you wish you didn’t pray about it because if it does not happen it means that that’s not the man for me, even though I still wanted him to be,” continues Thembi nostalgically.
“But I said to myself, I’m gonna stand here. I’m gonna be as grounded as Mount Zion. I needed to believe what I prayed.” It was now about 5 minutes before Thembi had to go and “girl!” she exclaims, “that sliding door opened!”
And there, accompanying Charney, her friend who had remembered that she never got to give Thembi a goodbye hug, stood Arthur.
So there, they both were, once again. Tears streaming down her face, but this time not because she was leaving, but because Arthur had come back. “I was crying because I was looking at my future husband.” At that moment, Arthur and Thembi both had their signs revealed to them; they had found each other at last.
So Thembi returned to South Africa while her friendship with Arthur continued over Skype dates and texts. Not long after Thembi’s departure, Arthur orchestrated a surprise visit to South Africa to ask Thembi to be his girlfriend. Another few months after that surprise visit, Arthur followed up with another visit South Africa to ask for Thembi’s hand in marriage with a beautiful yellow diamond ring; it turned out that yellow was also Thembi’s favourite colour. In 2013, Thembi and Arthur got married and the family moved to New York.
“We wanted to wait before we had a baby. We weren’t under pressure in any way. We already had a son, Joseph, and we wanted to bond as a new family”, says Thembi. Then in 2017 on Valentine’s Day, while the family was getting ready to begin the day, Thembi suddenly felt so dizzy that she almost fell. Arthur then rushed her to the doctor where they learned that they were expecting!
“We both secretly wanted a baby girl and sure enough, we found out that we were expecting a little girl!” says Thembi. “My pregnancy was a breeze”, she continues, “I had no morning sicknesses, no pains whatsoever. I had a beautiful, beautiful pregnancy”.
October 11th, 2017, Thembi gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl, and the couple named her Avia uThando Cundy. Her first name means “God is my father” and her second name means “love”, a daily reminder of their phenomenal love story.