“I am shocked. This is wrong.” a wedding guest said to the press about a 9 year old boy in her South African village marrying a woman in her 60’s even though she is already married and has 5 adult children. These villagers and the married couple happily report that the marriage ceremony was done to please the boy’s ancestors. “People keep asking me, will they live together, sleep together, have babies together,” is said in a press release by the 9 year old husband’s mother, “But I keep telling them, after the wedding everything went back to normal. This ceremony was done to please the ancestors. We are playing.” Strange, but true, apparently. A different wedding party guest called the whole thing, “Disgusting. This is terribly wrong. No matter what the ancestors say.”
This is actually wedding ceremony number two for the couple. The boy insisted that another vow be made in order to make sure it is known to be ‘official’ and to please the ancestors. The 9 year old’s family shelled out more than $1,700, which is more money than most South African villagers spend in a whole year. The elderly bride’s name is Helen Shabangu, and she is more than 60 years old and already has a husband.
An African Studies professor at the well known Stanford University, when asked, has stated that the marriage that took place in South Africa is, “possible,” but also, “not significant.” He might think that, but whenever a 9 year old kid, male, or female, gets married to a senior citizen, “significant” is probably exactly what it is.