An eight year-old South African boy has married a woman in her 60s after claiming the ghost of his long-dead grandfather told him to do so.
Sanele Masilela claimed his now deceased ancestor, after whom he was named, had been in love with 61 year-old mother-of-five Helen Shabangu and told him he should marry her in his place. Presumably grandfather Sanele did not contemplate the ceremony might take place while his namesake was still at junior school but both parties and their families feared angering the spirits if the marriage never took place.
100 guests attended the wedding, which was held in the municipality of Tshwane in South Africa’s Gauteng province at a cost of £1,000. Sanele’s family and Ms Shabangu’s current husband Alfred, 65, gave their blessing. As a result of the nuptials, Helen’s oldest child, at 37, has an eight year-old ‘stepfather’.
Both parties concede that the ceremony was simply a ritual endured so as not to displease the spirits.
“I’m married and have five kids of my own, but I know that this is what the ancestors wanted – and now they are happy. It is a ritual. We are just playing now, but it is a sign that he will get married one day,” Shabangu told reporters.
For Sanele’s part, he had this to say: ““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.”
Sanele’s mother said: “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.”
According to sources, the couple did not sign a marriage certificate and have gone back to living separate lives after the ceremony took place.