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Sanele Masilela may be 8 years old, but that didn’t stop him from marrying a 61-year-old woman and dividing the local community.

Sanele tied the knot with his mother’s friend Helen Shabangu in Tshwane, South Africa. The odd couple wed in front of around 100 guests in a ceremony that the boy’s family paid £1,000 for.

After exchanging rings, the newlyweds even puckered up for a kiss.

Following a visit from the ghost of his grandfather, Sanele told his family that he had to get married. His mum Patience, 46, explains that Sanele was named after his grandfather, who never had a white wedding before his death. So from beyond the grave he urged his grandson to find a wife.

Fearing the consequences of disobeying their ancestors, the family set about doing as they were told. Sanele insists that he chose his mum’s co-worker at the recycling centre because he loves her.

While some members of the community were shocked and appalled by the unusual union, the boy’s family insist that the ceremony was just a ritual. No marriage certificate was signed, and the newlyweds would not be living together. They both went back to their normal lives.

Helen is already married and has five children ranging from 27 to 37 years of age. She said that she was happy that Sanele chose her, and that her kids and husband Alfred, 65, understood that it was to make the ancestors happy.

Sanele maintains that he loves Helen, but says that he will marry a woman his own age when he’s older and start his own family.


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