Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Correspondent
TWIN babies are cute, especially if they are identical and they dress up in matching outfits, they look even more adorable.
However, it is not every day that one finds twins in their late 60s still with the zeal to wear matching outfits.
They have the same icy laugh. A peculiar squint comes into their eyes and the corners of their mouth pull up when they smile. They have similar piercing but warm eyes.
The way they chorus answers without even glancing at each makes one believe telepathy is real.
They are the inseparable twins of Entumbane suburb – Violet and Jesta Mabaisa aged 68.
The pair have vowed they will never get married if they do not find a pair of twins to tie the knot with.
Granny Vee and Granny Jay, unfortunately, were not so lucky to find twins who could marry them hence they continue to live as single mums.
They both have two children each, although Violet lost a daughter in 2005.
To ensure that they never have to stay away from each other, Granny Vee and Granny Jay bought two semi-detached houses in 1981 in Entumbane suburb and built a perimeter wall around both houses.
They say it has always been their prayer to die together as they cannot imagine the possibility of life for one without the other.
Born in Kezi, where they learnt up to Standard One, the twin sisters are part of a big family and have sixteen siblings.
They are, however, the only set of twins in their family, although there are several sets of twins in the extended family.
They have never worn different clothes in their lives.
The trend was started by their parents when they were born in 1952 and the two have made it part of their personal branding going a step further by always matching even underwear.
It’s hilarious that Violet and Jesta often can’t tell which of them is which when they look at old pictures of themselves, right from their childhood to their youthful years, even more recent pictures from their adult life.
On one of the pictures, Violet comes up with a solution. She claims she can tell the difference between them from a pattern of smiles across a number of pictures, but she too gets confused somewhere along the way.
Even their neighbours have a tough time telling them apart and the golden girls find this amusing.
They usually cause a stir in town when they turn up wearing matching outfits. Some people stop to take pictures, while others ask who the older twin is.
Asked if they ever get tired of the attention they get, they hilariously chorus an answer.
“That’s the life we know as twins. People love us. We are used to it,” they both respond.
One would think that they have prepared a set of answers for mutual responses.
Another explanation could be that their telepathy is just too strong.
They mirror each other’s mannerism such as crossing a leg when sitting or gesturing with hands.
They even have replica patterns of wrinkles on the forehead when they frown.
Asked about who selects the outfits daily, they say whoever dresses up first on the day – the other one just follows suit. The same goes with shopping, whoever picks an outfit first they buy two.
They wear the same dress size, however, Violet wears shoe size seven while Jesta wears size six.
The golden girls were involved in an accident in 2014 and each suffered multiple fractures.
Violet spent one month at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare while Jester endured eight days at a hospital in Kadoma, following the accident.
The day after her discharge, Jester travelled to Harare where she was at her twin’s bedside daily until she was also discharged.
“We had always prayed that when the time comes, we die together as we can’t imagine life without each other. It was scary to think of life without each other. But after the accident that nearly killed us, we realised that our children would have been double orphaned and it was better that death does not knock on our doors at the same time as it would be too much of a blow to the children. We have now accepted that at some point, perhaps only one of us will be left and while it will be hard, it is reality,” said Violet.
“We just thank God for the relationship that we have, we are just like one soul in two bodies, that is how close we are,” said Jesta.
They spent 15 “unbearable” years apart between 1998 and 2012 when Violet had to work in Botswana. However, she came home every month to see the family and Jesta would often go to Botswana to visit her sister.
Prior to moving to Botswana, the girls who are now both retired worked together and when one got a different job, the other would follow.
Violet got a job at Security Mills in 1969, and Jesta followed in 1970.
“We also worked together at Blue Express. I started there in 1984, and Jesta followed me in 1987. At work some workmates could not distinguish between us although we worked in different departments,” said Violet.
Like all girls, the ageing twins have interesting boyfriend stories from their youth.
They say it was interesting when boys fancied them, but could not differentiate them.
Some boys would pursue both girls assuming it is the same girl.
However, the girls said serious suitors could tell the difference.
“If a man really loves you, he knows you very well such that he can never mistake you for your twin. Your personal person knows you even in the dark,” said Jesta.
The girls also laughed about the time they missed each other when one had gone out to see her boyfriend, but said none of them got jealous.
“You would just let the other go, knowing that they would come back, and next time it will be you going out. However, knowing the vow of waiting for twin brothers for marriage, no boy felt like a threat to our bond. We could not marry non-twin men because it would just complicate things. Only a twin can truly understand the bond shared by twins but we are happy to have been blessed with grandchildren now. Violet has two and I have three,” said Jesta.
As a parting shot, the twins were asked about the future of their children and whether they had wills for potential family squabbles after their lifetime.
“We had no wills, but now that you have mentioned it, we will look into it because we will not be around forever. At least we maintained different addresses for the houses, so our children will not fight, but from what we see, they get along so well, just like us. We hope that when we depart, the children will maintain the good relations that we have and practice what we have taught, to love one another,” said Violet. – @andile_tshuma.