Johannesburg – A break-up with a “problematic boyfriend” spurred 26-year-old Mbuso Sibiya to think of ways she can meet a compatible partner without the drawn-out and expensive process of dating.
She established Speed Dating Mzansi in 2019, which combines her love for event management and the need to bring people who are looking for love together in a relaxed environment.
Today, her business has gained even more interest because the Covid-19 pandemic tested many relationships and left many others single.
“I was like: what if I can meet many people at one venue, same time and be clear of what my intentions are. I thought, instead of spending money on loads of dates, you can meet several people at one venue and speak to whoever you are interested in for 30
“And you can eat, drink and chill before the actual process. It’s cheaper and it’s fun,” says Sibiya.
“If, after three minutes, you don’t like the person, you don’t have to speak to them again. That beats a dragged-out boring date with someone you don’t find attractive.”
Last week, one of Sibiya’s speed-dating events was held in Rosebank, northern Joburg, and was sold out. Tickets are sold before the bi-monthly occasion to about 15 to 30 people.
She says she already had quite an extensive database of potential compatible individuals who would then be matched.
“We change venues to reach different people and audiences,” she says.
No talk of work is allowed in the first three-minute session.
“We don’t encourage talking about anything too deep. We give people ice-breaking topics. We tell them not to beat about the bush. We encourage people to talk about themselves; who they are, what they enjoy.
“Talking about work adds pressure and people don’t like that. If you move on to the second round, you get more time to speak and you can then discuss work and so forth.”
She says details are kept private and phone numbers are not handed out willy-nilly to people who don’t stimulate a partner’s interests.
Sibiya also raves about a couple that met through the service in 2019 and now has a baby, just over a year old.
“We call the baby ‘speedhump’,” she jokes.
Her events draw singles aged 25 to 35, but she has seen a rise in those between 40 and 60, reaching out after divorce.
“Many people are looking for love. But there are also those who think it’s a sex party. This is a safe space to find your ideal partner. It may not last forever, or it just may – that’s the game. We have a waiver form that you fill out and we also check criminal records.”
Asked if she has met someone yet, Sibiya says: “Yes.”
Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here.