A nine-year-old schoolboy has become one of the world’s youngest grooms for the second time – marrying his 62-year-old wife again. The second marriage ceremony was this time held at the home of the blushing bride in Ximhungwe in Mpumalanga, South Africa, in front of around 100 guests
Wide-eyed residents looked on as the married mother-of-five shared a piece of cake, a toast and even a kiss with her young groom Sanele – and long-term husband Alfred Shabangu, 66.
Last year the boy, from nearby Tshwane, tied the knot with bride Helen after claiming he had been told by his dead ancestors to wed. Shockingly his family took the message from the heavens seriously and hurriedly forked out £500 for the bride and a further £1,000 for the big day.
But little Sanele -the youngest of five children – wouldn’t rest until the couple followed through with South African traditions insisting they have the second ceremony to make their marriage official.
Despite stunned villagers branding the act ‘sickening’ the boy’s family defended the union saying it was just a ritual and not legally binding. Sanele’s 47-year-old mum, Patience Masilela said: ‘Sanele was fine and he was happy about the ceremony last year and it what he wanted – he was not shy.’
‘He was just happy to get married, very excited and was not embarrassed about it. So much so he wanted to do it again. ‘After the wedding last year people keep asking them question like will they live together, sleep together, have babies but I keep telling them that after the wedding everything went back to normal nothing changed.
‘Sanele moved to Venda not long after the wedding because he wanted to learn a new language, but they are very close. ‘Our families are very close. It was nice celebrate with a wedding once more, it was after all a calling from the ancestors.
‘By doing this we made the ancestors happy. If we hadn’t done what my son had asked then something bad would have happened in the family.’
The widow, who works at a recycling centre, added : ‘I didn’t have a problem with it because I know it’s what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy.’
Young groom Sanele said he hoped he would have a proper wedding to a woman his own age when he was older. ‘I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to,’ he said.
‘I’m happy that I married Helen – but I will go to school and study hard. When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age. ‘I chose Helen because I love her and although we don’t live together all the time we meet at the dumping site where my mother works regularly.’
Old enough to be his grandmother, bride Helen, whose children are aged between 38 and 28, yesterday said she was still happy with the arrangement. The recycling worker- who donned the same dress – said: ‘I’m very happy that the boy chose me and my family support and understand that it is part of making ancestors happy.
‘One day Sanele would grow normally and have family of his own and get married one day, all this ceremony is for making ancestors happy. We are playing.’
Sanele and his bride did not sign a marriage certificate and do not have to live together. Both have gone back to their normal lives.
Helen’s husband of 30 years and builder Alfred, attended both wedding ceremonies along with the couples five children. The 67-year-old added: ‘My kids and I are happy because we don’t have a problem with her marrying the boy – and I don’t care what other people say.’