You’ve likely felt some pressure from your family members to do some things you didn’t necessarily want to do. In your case, though, your relative probably wasn’t already deceased, and they surely weren’t trying to convince you to marry someone nearly eight times your own age. This is exactly the case of 8-year-old Sanele Masilela, whose dead grandfather reportedly wished for him to marry 61-year-old married mother-of-five Helen Shabangu.
Both are from the town of Tshwane, South Africa, and they agreed to the ceremony out of fear of divine retribution. Sanele’s family paid £500 to the bride as a dowry, and the wedding itself cost £1,000. They were able to plan the ceremony, which they admitted shocked some members of the community, in the span of only two months.
The ceremony was mostly for show, and it wasn’t legally binding. Both bride and groom have moved on to their normal lives, and the family is pleased. The boy’s mother, Patience Masilela, had a few words for the Daily Mail:
Sanele is named after his grandfather, who has never had a white wedding before he died so asked Sanele to get married. He chose Helen because he loves her. 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. 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 young bridegroom himself had some things to say to the Mail:
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. When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age.
The bride’s existing husband and children said that they had no problem with the ceremony, even with some outcry from the community.