Before I dive into the particulars of an 8-year-old getting wed to a 61-year-old, I ask you to consider under what circumstances a wedding of this sort might be appropriate. So far, I’ve come up with … NONE.
But according to the groom, Sanele Masilela of Tshwane, South Africa, (I can’t believe I’m using that word to describe an 8-year-old), the wedding was an order from his dead ancestors. No word on how this order was conveyed, but Masilela felt that it must be obeyed. So, he chose his bride, Helen Shabangu, an already married mother of five, 50 years his senior.
“I told my mother I wanted to get married as I really did want to. I’m happy that I married Helen. When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age,” said Masilela.
The couple participated in a ceremony where they swapped rings and kissed in front of 100 guests, but did not sign a marriage certificate and don’t plan to live together. Masilela’s family insisted the wedding was “only a ritual.”
Even though members of the community are shocked by the wedding, the boy’s mother is supportive.“Sanele is named after his grandfather, who was never had a white wedding before he died so asked Sanele to get married before he died. He chose Helen because he loves her. By doing this we made the ancestors happy. If we hadn’t, something bad would have happened in the family,” she said.
The bride is also happy about the arrangement. “I know that this is what the ancestors wanted – and now they are happy,” Shabangu said. “It is a ritual. We are just playing now, but it is a sign that he will get married one day.”
Not computing. Still not computing. My understanding microchip has short-circuited. My dead ancestors have ordered me to take a nap right now, so I’ve got to do that before something really bad happens. [Huffington Post UK]