An 8-year-old South African boy in Tshwane married a 61-year-old woman after he told his family his dead ancestors wanted him to tie the knot.
The Daily Mail reported the boy, Sanele Masilela, walked down the aisle with the woman, Helen Shabangu, who is already married and the mother of five.
His family was reportedly afraid of “divine retribution” and decided to go along with the nuptials, paying about $750 for the bride and shelling out another $1,500 for the wedding that was put together in two months.
The groom, the youngest of five children, married the bride in a silver suit, and he even gave her a kiss on the lips to seal their marriage. The two reportedly exchanged rings in front of 100 guests.
So how could all of this be legal? According to the Daily Mail, family members said the marriage actually isn't. Even though the wedding shocked their community, they explained it was just a ritual to avoid angering their ancestors.
The Daily Mail quoted Sanele's 46-year-old mother, Patience Masilela, as saying: “This is the first time this has happened in the family. Sanele is named after his grandfather, who ... never had a white wedding before he died so asked Sanele to get married. He chose Helen because he loves her.”
The mother of the groom added: “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. I didn't have a problem with it because I know it's what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy.”
She indicated she doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with her 8-year-old son marrying a woman who is old enough to be his grandmother: “I would say that this is not wrong. Sanele was fine, and he was happy about the ceremony, and it was what he wanted. He was happy to get married and very excited.”
The newlyweds did not sign a marriage certificate and do not have to live together. In fact, the two have gone back to living their lives the way they did before the marriage ceremony.
The Daily Mail quoted Sanele as saying: “I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to. I'm happy that I married Helen -- but I will go to school and study hard.”
And, Sanele said, “When I'm older, I will marry a lady my own age.”