9-Year-Old Boy Marries Woman 53 Years His Senior, for the Second Time

Nine-year-old Saneie Masilela has managed to accomplish something that probably no other kid his age has ever done – he’s been married twice! And as if that wasn’t shocking enough, his bride is old enough to be his grandmother.

Saneie has married 62-year-old Helen Shabangu twice in the span of one year. The second wedding ceremony was recently held at the bride’s home in Ximhungwe, in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. As the highly unusual couple exchanged vows for the second time, 100 wide-eyed guests watched on in utter bewilderment.

Saneie, the youngest of four children, belongs to the nearby town of Tshwane. His first wedding to Helen took place last year at his parents’ home, after he claimed that his dead ancestors had ordered him to marry her. While most parents would brush away such claims from a little boy, Saneie’s parents actually took him seriously. They hurriedly contacted the bride, paid her $800 as dowry and spent over $1,500 on the arrangements.


Photo: Raymond Preston/Times Live

In spite of doing as the ancestors had instructed, Saneie was not pleased. He insisted that the couple follow through with the South African tradition of having a second ceremony in the bride’s home, to make their marriage official. Stunned villagers have called the match ‘sickening’ and condemned the young boy’s parents for their choices.

The boy’s family, however, defended their actions by saying that the ceremony was just a ritual to please their ancestors, and not legally binding. Patience Masilela, Saneie’s 47-year-old mother, said: “Saneie was fine and he was happy about the ceremony last year and it was what he wanted. He was happy to get married, very excited and was not embarrassed about it. So much so he wanted to do it again.”

“Our families are very close,” added Patience. “It was nice to celebrate with a wedding once more, it was after all a calling from the ancestors.” The wedding was also attended by Helen’s husband of 30 years, Alfred Shabangu, 66, and their five children aged between 28 and 38. None of them appeared to have the slightest problem with the proceedings.


Photo: LookLocal Praetoria East

“After the wedding last year people kept asking them questions like will they live together, sleep together, have babies, but I kept telling them that after the wedding everything went back to normal, nothing changed,” said Patience. “Saneie moved to Venda not long after the wedding because he wanted to learn a new language, but they are very close.”

“I didn’t have a problem with it because I know it’s what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy. 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.”

As for babyfaced Saneie, he really does appear to be very happy in the photographs. “I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to,” he said. “I chose Helen because I love her and although we don’t live together all the time we meet at the dumping site where my mother works regularly.”

Helen was also quite happy that the boy chose her, and that her family was so supportive of the wedding. “One day Saneie would grow normally and have a family of his own and get married, all this ceremony is for making ancestors happy. We are playing,” she explained. Her husband agreed with her: “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.”

Although they were married twice, Saneie and Helen have not signed a marriage certificate. They have both gone back to their respective lives. “I’m happy that I married Helen, but I will go to school and study hard,” said the young groom. “When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age.”

Sources: Times Live, Daily Mail

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