How we met: BRIAN MALAMA, Lusaka
IT WAS something of love at first sight. An Australian white businessman and philanthropist Brendan Clark, 30, met his wife, Portia, a recording artiste at Lusakaâ€™s Misty Restaurant.
The rest is history.
The couple now live in Western Australia and they have three children, an adopted baby called Milica, Tracey and Paul junior named after Brendanâ€™s dad.
Brendan is a very successful business with 18 companies to his name while his wife, Portia, a Zambian, hails from a humble background from Garden- Chilulu Township of Lusaka.
The young musician has a golden voice that can take her around the world as an international singer.
â€œI spotted Portia at Misty Restaurant, even before she was introduced to come on stage. I was seating with top executives from Australia who travelled all the way to Livingstone on a charity bike ride and the time I saw this lady, I knew she was my soul mate,â€ Brendan recalls.
Portia doesnâ€™t remember the memorable meeting, â€œOh my God, I donâ€™t remember anything about the fateful meeting. I tell you what! I was doing my own things and then this guy who was with his mate approached me. I was tired I didnâ€™t even want to talk to him.â€
Brendan says he was rejected on the first instance but managed to get hold of her mobile number and never stopped chasing her till she accepted his proposal.
â€œShe stood me up like never before in my entire life. It was pretty sad. But, thank God I managed to get hold of her mobile number and then I never stopped chasing this lovely woman. As you can see the results speak for themselves,â€ he recapped.
Portia remembers that she disappeared from the bothersome stranger and slept in a friendâ€™s car since she didnâ€™t think Brendan was serious with her.
Brendan and Portia met on 10th September in 2013 in Lusaka and after a few months together, the couple relocated to Western Australia.
â€œI vividly remember the floral dress Portia was wearing and do remember where she was seated. I searched for her that night for two hours since she had run away from me. She was young and stunningly beautiful on top of having a brilliant voice,â€™â€™ Brendan recalls.
Though the cultural difference was evident, the love between the two conquered this since they eventually fell in love with Portia being welcomed by Brendanâ€™s family.
â€œOur courtship lasted for close to six months with traditional marriage rituals conducted in Lusaka. My family is well pleased in Mr Clark. I have sort of assimilated in the Australian culture. We sometimes fight and avoid eye contact but we usually end up laughing and settling our scores moving on with our lives,â€ said Portia.
Brendan pointed out saying â€˜the biggest problem we have is we come from two diverse backgrounds and cultures. Australia is very down to earth people and easy going. I could say something in Australia which is okay but here it may be offensive. We donâ€™t have protocolsâ€.
However, Brendan further added that the two diverse backgrounds and cultures have been surmountable by their love.
Brendan said he started business when he was 15 years old, made his first million dollars and now owns 18 companies ranging from construction, retail, service and hospitality and of course property development.
Brendan is also engaged in charity work with an NGO Matter Australia, which has partnered with Starkey Foundation of America to raise money for malnourished children in Zambia.
Portia says she grew up with a single mother and became a recording artiste who now sings Country, Rock and Pop. She started singing when she was 11 years old in Church Capital Worship centre in Lusaka.
â€œI was auditioned through Shoprite Top Stars competition in Zambia and went to South Africa and now I have gone international. I have sung before two former American Presidents Bill Clinton and George Walker Bush juniorâ€™â€™ she said.
The happily married is also engaged in raising money for ward A01 at the University Teaching Hospital and has just donated medical equipment worth US$5 million to the UTH.
Brendan and Portia also donated one million sachets of nutrition meals to the Office of the First Lady.
Portia disclosed that Matter Australia will consider adopting the Labour Ward at UTH and improve standards. â€œLives are born in delivery rooms and yet 50 years on women are made to deliver on, the floor, which is very unhygienic,â€ Portia lamented.
The couple say they have blended their children. They may be a mixed-race couple but their children are special people in their lives and they nurture them to appreciate the world as it is.
How we met: BRIAN MALAMA, Lusaka