Four weddings and counting

I love my wife. This is not a scientific fact, but an emotional reality. I love her so much that I have already married her four times, and there are three more wedding ceremonies pending.

Here is the genesis of my love story: there are two versions of how I met my current wife. Let’s call her Professor D. The first, possibly more revolutionary version says that we met at the Underground of the African National Congress (ANC) in the late 1990s. The second version, perhaps closer to the truth, is that we met in 2001 after the brutal attack on my late brother. Both versions have some elements of truth. Yes, she was an ANC activist and served in the same ANC structures as me. We attend similar events and share similar networks, but the truth is that we never recognized each other in all those meetings. Here’s the thing; I was so overwhelmed by the white companions that my eyes were probably on someone else.

Our second meeting was more dramatic. He came to deliver the worst news that my brother, who had been missing for three days, was in fact dying in a hospital. He had woken up from a coma and remembered a varsity phone number for his then master’s supervisor. Yes, my current wife is a nerd. This is how he came to find me at Durban University of Technology to deliver news. Unfortunately, my brother didn’t make it. He passed away on March 31, 2001.

However, something happened the day we were writing my brother’s obituary. I was narrating and Professor D. was writing. The more I told her about my brother’s story, the more I mentioned things about myself. Once the obituary was completed, we had firmly established that we did indeed know each other back then in the trenches of the ANC Underground.

After the funeral, I met with her to convey the family’s appreciation for the work she had done for our beloved brother and the mourning family. It was supposed to be the last meeting, but something happened. I remember sitting in her car completely enchanted by this woman. I was drawn to her dignified beauty, courteous nature, and abundance of kindness. It was clear to me that I had to keep talking to her or my only chance to save something would be gone in seconds. At some point we hugged to say goodbye, and then something extraordinary happened: we kissed. We kiss over and over again. I was so overwhelmed by this historic moment that a tear fell. Then I knew intuitively that he was in love. In that instant, she literally “took my grief and pain and buried it.” To this day, the melody of Brandi Carlile’s song “Hiding My Heart Away” resonates in my head, of course, with a twist. It goes like this: “It was in the darkest of my days when you suddenly turned me over, turned me over.” Later the same day, we went out for a couple of drinks and said goodbye on good terms. This was the beginning of a whirlwind of romance that has lasted for sixteen years and counting. Just three months after our first kiss, I moved in with her as a tenant. The story of how this tenant became a homeowner is legendary stuff that will be told another day.

Our first marriage was discreet. We got married at the post office. Yes, you can marry someone at the post office without even knowing anything about it. This despite the fact that we were both ill-prepared for our first marriage. Our plan was simpler: obtain an affidavit confirming that I was a resident partner of hers. This was a requirement for me to enlist in their health care. Honestly, all we needed was an official seal from the Commissioner of Oaths. Our Oath Commissioner, clearly a man of some reputation, studied the forms and an affidavit with a fine-toothed comb. He didn’t beat around the bush: “Do you understand what you’re getting into? Are you ready to marry in law? At first, we chuckled, then realized, we weren’t ready for the legal consequences of a legal settlement. internal partner. We composed ourselves and confirmed that we did understand the consequences. He sealed the affidavit and signed, soon we left as a married couple. We laughed a lot outside the post office and closed it with a kiss.

Our second marriage was very serious and formal. We appeared before the Mauritius High Court in Port Louis to swear before a judge that we did know the legal consequences of our marriage. We also had to swear that there was no impediment to our nuptials. We were duly married in terms of Mauritian and international laws.

Our third marriage was more open-air fun at the Mauritius beach hotel. The marriage officer explained the reason for being thus: “It is appropriate, therefore, that this wedding of Bhekisisa and Professor D is in the open air, where we are close to the earth and the unity of life, the totality of the living beings of which we are part “.

So we did the whole radical business of making our own vows: “I, Bhekisisa, take you, Professor D, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, between laughter and tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you are none other than yourself, loving what I know about you, trusting in what I don’t know yet, in all the ways that life finds us. ” There was no usual line: “Now you can kiss the bride.” However, we couldn’t escape the kissing part – we kissed in front of a small audience of tourists from all over the world. Then we did another revolutionary act by taking our wedding photos in the tranquility of the Indian Ocean. It was a total blessing. There are no guests. No priest. No problem. The only official witness was our then three-year-old daughter, Miss N.

Our fourth marriage was at our home in Durban, a few weeks after Mauritius’ trip. We had about 50 guests. He was jovial, and amber liquids flowed. We convinced ourselves that we had performed enough wedding ceremonies to last a lifetime. In fact, we mistakenly thought that we were gone the whole time. We were wrong.

Before Mauricio’s trip, I proudly informed my family that I was getting married. I apologized that they were unable to come due to exorbitant costs. Upon my return, I duly went home to report the good news in person. My father stunned me. I was furious. She told me to my face that she was not married. “When did we kill a cow to ask for the blessing of the ancestors for this supposed marriage? When was umembeso? In Zulu culture, umembeso is when the groom’s family brings gifts to the bride’s family to thank them for the gift of his new daughter-in-law. The groom’s family is greeted by the bride’s father with the sounds of singing and howls as one family loses one daughter and another wins. My mother, not to be left behind, politely asked: “When is the wedding white? “

The downside of the entire Zulu version of the marriage ritual is that it takes the position of being a higher culture. According to my parents’ narrative, unless I make my marriage on their model, I am not married. But here there is a clash of cultures. My wife is English. She is the daughter of a French father from Mauricio and an English-speaking mother. She was born in Durban. She doesn’t believe in white weddings. She refuses to have anything to do with a wedding ceremony where the slaughter of poor cows and goats occurs in any way. She has no relationship or knowledge of the thing of all the ancestors. I don’t believe in white weddings. I don’t have the financial resources for a fantastic ancestral blessing from my marriage.

However, I owe two wedding ceremonies to my parents and to the town where I was born: the traditional one and the white wedding. Oh, we also haven’t registered our marriage to South African Internal Affairs. I guess there are three more wedding ceremonies on the horizon.

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