Was Makhaya in love with Paulina?
I guess it would depend on which part of the story you are asking about. If you are asking if he was in love with Paulina right from the very start, the answer is no. Paulina, on the other hand, is almost immediately attracted to Makhaya. Perhaps that's not love for her, but the attraction is more than Makhaya felt. In fact, he unintentionally spurned her affections at first. As the story progresses, though, and after Makhaya has been put in charge of a large plantation project, he begins to realize her attraction to him. It is through his close work with the women (and Paulina) that he begins to appreciate Paulina. This is his first step toward being in love with her, and the story ends with him proposing marriage to her. So by the end of the story, yes, I believe that Makhaya is in love with Paulina. It never resembles the drooling sappy love that Romeo and Juliet have for each other, but that doesn't mean Paulina and Makhaya are not in love. In fact, I might argue that their love is deeper, because their relationship develops over the course of a long time (versus the three days of Romeo and Juliet's relationship).
Initially, Makhaya is not in love with Paulina. In contrast, she is attracted to Makhaya from the start due to his good looks. Being as assertive and self-confident as she is, Paulina sends greetings to Makhaya through her daughter—to which Makhaya responds rudely. However, as their interaction continues, Makhaya grows fond of Paulina and cares about her. When Paulina first confesses to Makhaya that she loves him, he is honest enough to admit that he does not know what love is but that he is open to the possibility of finding it as they move along together. What he knows for certain is that he deeply cares about her, as evidenced by his statement after she finds her dead son’s body; he is there to carry her burdens. In the end, however, Makhaya realizes that he loves Paulina, and he proposes to her.