A Nine-Year-Old Boy Has Remarried A 62-Year-Old Woman In South Africa

Saneie Masilela and Helen Shabangu originally held a ceremonial wedding in 2013, but renewed their vows this year to honour their ancestors.

This is Saneie Masilela and his bride, Helen Shabangu, at their second ritual marriage ceremony in Kildare Village, Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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At nine-years-old, Saneie is the world’s youngest groom. Helen is a 62-year-old married mother of five. She works at a recycling plant.

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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The couple originally married in 2013 after Saneie claimed that his dead ancestors had instructed him to do so. They then repeated their vows with a second ceremony this year, according to local wedding tradition.

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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Other villagers have called the wedding “sickening”, but Saneie’s mother, Patience, doesn’t have a problem with it: “I know it’s what the ancestors wanted. If we hadn’t done what my son had asked then something bad would have happened in the family.”

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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“People keep asking will they live together, sleep together, have babies, but I keep telling them that after the wedding everything went back to normal – nothing changed. All this ceremony is for making ancestors happy. We are playing.”

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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“I’m happy that I married Helen – but I will go to school and study hard,” Saneie said in a press release. “When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age.”

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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Helen Shabangu’s husband of 30 years, Alfred, attended both wedding ceremonies. He said, “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.”

Dimakatso Modipa / Barcroft Media

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Watch a video of the wedding here.


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Robyn Wilder is a staff writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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