There are times in life when your faith can really be tested. 8-year-old, Saneie Masilela, from South Africa, stood face to face with one such moment that left everyone around him shocked. The little boy was instructed by his dead ancestors to marry 61-year-old, Helen Shabangu. And, following the words of his ancestors, this young man tied knot with his bride in 2013, and revisited their vows once again in 2014, as per the local dictates. Don't believe us? Well, then meet the youngest groom in the world and his bride, who is 53 years older than him:
Shocking for all?
While the world is aghast at such a wedding and the people participating in it, there is much to be said about the faith and belief of those involved in it. The mother of the groom, Patience Masilela, believes that once something has been instructed by the ancestors, then not following their orders could result in a catastrophe for the family. Therefore, while others in the village might have been repulsed by such a ceremony, Patience has been a big supporter of Saneie’s decision.
So, what do their families have to say?
The mother was quoted by a leading news website saying, “It was nice to celebrate it with a wedding once more, it was after all a calling from the ancestors. By doing so we made the ancestors happy. If we hadn’t done what my son had asked then something bad would have happened in the family. I didn’t have a problem with it because I know it’s what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy.”
It is also difficult to imagine a man ready to share his wife with another, but such is the case with Alfred, Helen’s husband and father of her five children. 67-year-old Alfred and their five children, have been supportive of this “wedding”, and have stood by Helen’s side as she married the boy twice as per the local wedding tradition. He has even been quoted as saying, “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.”
It was truly a grand wedding
The second wedding of this couple was held at the bride’s home this time around, where about 100 guests were present. This wedding was just like any other, there was everything from wedding vows and exchange of rings to cake and toast, and even the customary kiss.
The wedding is actually just a play-act ritual to appease the ancestors. It is not legally binding. The young groom and his bride will not share sleeping quarters or even live together. They will be continuing on with their normal life without any other hiccups. In fact the naïve young groom confesses to wanting to study really hard and make a future for himself - a future that he wishes to share with a woman of his own age.
There was a lavish wedding ceremony both times to celebrate the joining of their lives. And, even though it is "just a ritual" for the 9-year-old groom and his 62-year-old bride, the rest of the world is certainly shocked at the news. The true celebration in this wedding was that of the boy and his family’s belief and faith in the guidance and message they received from their ancestors– for better or worse!