No luck with love

Best friends Lesedi and Bran­don get into a re­la­tion­ship be­fore his fam­ily moves out of town.

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In­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist and sin­gle mother Zoe (Schelaine Ben­nett) is up in arms on Wed­nes­day 23 May when she learns that her teenage son Bran­don (Dono­van Pi­eter­son) is more than just friends with his class­mate Lesedi (Luyanda Mzazi). “Zoe goes nuts,” re­veals Schelaine. Be­cause of Bran­don’s autism, Zoe tried to stop him from en­ter­ing the dat­ing world in or­der to pro­tect him from get­ting his heart bro­ken. “Like any con­cerned par­ent, Zoe is be­ing cau­tious as she fears that Bran­don could walk away from his ro­mance leav­ing Lesedi dev­as­tated,” adds the ac­tress. But Luyanda hints that Zoe has noth­ing to worry about and “Bran­don and Lesedi have a good thing go­ing. They have spent a lot of time to­gether over the past three months. Even if their ro­mance fails they have a solid friend­ship to fall back on,” ex­plains the ac­tress.

SMOOTH SAIL­ING

Lesedi’s past re­la­tion­ships didn’t work out due to her fam­ily be­ing against her dat­ing ex-boyfriends Mpho (Ju­nior Singo) and Brian (Buhle Ndlovu). She would sneak out of the house to see them, but with Bran­don it’s dif­fer­ent. “Both of their fam­i­lies know about ev­ery­thing that they do. She’s trans­par­ent this time around and she makes Zoe feel at ease about dat­ing her son,” ex­plains Luyanda. The bud­ding ro­mance is still new for Bran­don and “Lesedi has to teach him how to be af­fec­tion­ate,” snorts the ac­tress. “We see an­other side of Lesedi when she’s in a re­la­tion­ship with Bran­don. She is re­spon­si­ble and often takes lead as she’s first to hold his hand or ini­ti­ate con­ver­sa­tion.”

THE PER­FECT CATCH

Be­fore Lesedi knew about Bran­don’s autism, she avoided him like the plague be­cause he was so­cially awk­ward and re­fused to talk to any of his class­mates. But some time later Lesedi warmed up to Bran­don and reached out to him and “her grand­mother Gog’Flo (Ivy Nkutha) ad­vised her to read about autism, which helped Lesedi gain more in­sight about Bran­don help­ing the pair to be­come friends,” says Luyanda. Bran­don’s com­fort lev­els around Lesedi starts to im­prove by Mon­day 28 May with him fully step­ping out of his com­fort zone and go­ing to the movies with her and even go­ing against his “rules” by eat­ing dif­fer­ent coloured sweets. “Bran­don is ev­ery­thing that Lesedi ever wanted in a boyfriend. He is easy to talk to and taught her how to be open-minded. In the short time that they’ve know each other, Lesedi and Bran­don have learnt a lot from one an­other, it’s a pity that it doesn’t last long,” says the ac­tress.

MAK­ING AN EXIT

But things come to an abrupt halt for the happy young cou­ple when Bran­don’s fam­ily de­cide to flee Joburg on Mon­day 4 June. His re­cov­er­ing-al­co­holic grand­dad Michael’s (Terence Brid­gett) busi­ness reputation is in ru­ins thanks to a scathing ar­ti­cle about him in mid-May that sent him back to the bot­tle. Even though Bran­don moves to Cape Town and they won’t be see­ing much of each other any­more, they de­cide to re­main friends and “will al­ways keep in touch. Lesedi and Bran­don plan on call­ing each other every day with video­calls too – it’s not the end for them,” hints Luyanda.

Lesedi’s pos­i­tive new ro­mance is go­ing down in flames.

Bran­don and his fam­ily are leav­ing.

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