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The Little Groom: 8 Year-Old Boy Marries 61 Year-Old Woman in South Africa to “Make the Ancestors Happy”



At an age where children are known for their inability to make sound decisions for their future, a South African family has succumbed  to their son’s wishes to get married.

Over the weekend, an eight year-old school boy Sanele Masilela tied the knot with 61 year-old Helen Shabangu, who is already married and a mother of five. According to the boy, he married the woman because the ghost of his dead ancestor told him to.

Huffington Post reports that he married Helen in accordance with the wishes of his dead ancestors, and his family provided Helen with £500 and paid a further £1,000 for the celebration.

The little eight year-old, the youngest of five children, dressed in a bow tie and tiny silver suit and shared a kiss with his bride after exchanging rings in front of 100 guests.

The ceremony shocked the entire community but the family said it was a ritual and not legally binding. The couple did not sign a marriage certificate and do not have to live together. They have both returned to their normal lives.

Sanele’s 46-year-old mum, Patience Masilela told Huffington Post that there was nothing wrong with the wedding and her son was “happy to get married and very excited”. She added that it was her son’s late grandfather who asked him to get married “This is the first time this has happened in the family. Sanele is named after his grandfather who has never had a white wedding before he died so asked Sanele to get married. He chose Helen because he loves her. 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.

Helen, and her husband of 30 years also have no problem with it. According to the mother of five, it was “what the ancestors wanted” and now they are happy. “It is a ritual. We are just playing now, but it is a sign that he will get married one day.

Little Sanele also reiterated this by saying he would have a “proper” wedding to a woman his own age when he is older. “I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to. I’m happy that I married Helen – but I will go to school and study hard. When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age,Huffington Post quoted him as saying.

We simply have no words for this. Check out some of their wedding photos:

Sanele being led to the wedding by his mother, Patience Masilela

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. huh

    March 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    this is madness

  2. Teena

    March 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    yuck!!! Horrible!! *surprised face*

  3. Onyinye

    March 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    This is juju! There is no other explanation. He even kissed her on the lips. Bele!

  4. shay shay

    March 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    omg… but was the kiss absolutely necessary if this is ‘just a ritual’?

  5. Nomy

    March 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Hian! Oh! To each his own ba?

  6. Blake

    March 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Grossest thing ever

  7. Partyrider

    March 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    no comment

  8. Ibinabo

    March 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    “make the Ancestors Happy”?! this is madness.

  9. Evilicious

    March 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    God have mercy! Lost for words

    • jeniffer

      March 15, 2013 at 1:11 am

      i it was about that she should have not kiss him

  10. Ms lala

    March 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    oh dear Lord….i am not calling thy name in vain but instead calling out to help the human kind you created…..this child should be playing with supermario or even yugi-oh…they just robbed that boy’s childhood and isnt this child abuse.

    • Kapelo

      March 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Lol I know right…he’s meant to be watching tele tubbies but instead it’s the other way round. Well, like they say…wonders never end

  11. Jlo

    March 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm


  12. YVONNE

    March 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    *pukes* he mouth kissed her

  13. Prettyme

    March 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    D little boy is possessed. He needs serious deliverance frm ancestral spirits.

  14. deetz

    March 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    im sorry, is this real ?! Thats so disgusting. Some of the things we Africans do really needs to be taken into consideration

  15. linda

    March 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    hmmm….. this is whole lot of bullshit, i cant believe such a thing happened!

  16. ZEE

    March 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm


  17. toyin

    March 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    wonders shall never cease ……………………..

  18. pynk

    March 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    oga ju! illiteracy is truly crime.

  19. Olori

    March 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    LOL. Weirdos

  20. Ms Brown

    March 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm


  21. her royalmajesty

    March 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    what is this? can u imagine 8yr old na waoooo tinz dey happen sha

    • sona

      March 12, 2013 at 7:22 am

      My dear d sad part is he doesn’t knw d Gravity of what is happening…I. Don’t want to criticize any one but why do this to a small child.. He doesn’t even have a life yet ohh… This is CRAZY!!!!!!

  22. Chyke

    March 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    We Africans sha! Juju too much ooo. I used to think it was only in West Africa esp Nigeria but now South Africa. Nawa o.

  23. temi

    March 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm


  24. Maltida

    March 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    LOL.. this a a joke

  25. Keziah

    March 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Speechless!!! now I’ve seen it all….

  26. Purpleicious Babe

    March 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    In this 21st Century….. WOW.

    I guess nothing never ceases to amaze…..

  27. Omobolanle

    March 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    South Africa people n their funny ways….. Front runners in economy but very very with very very backward culture. CHILD ABUSE! Abeg shift *hiss*


    March 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    This is what i call WITCHCRAFT!!!

  29. Cee Frank

    March 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    No comment either

  30. oyin

    March 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm


  31. omo

    March 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    This is bad… really bad. As for the kiss i don’t think the little boy kissed her. She (the juju lady) kissed the poor child. I say this cos she is way taller than him, she bent over/down to give the kiss. It seem like the juju priest (aka pastor/minister) officiating the ceremony pushed the poor child closer to the OLD WOMAN/ODEDE( AKA bride) for her to kiss him. If u look @ the pic closely the juju pastor’s hand is on the boy’s back. This is seriously annoying on all level.!

  32. fifi

    March 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    i see nothing wrong in it,,it was traditional and part of culture that we shouldn’t throw away due to what the western world will say, Am glad they kept their traditions. It was ceremonial and there was no consummation.

    • Laide

      March 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      By God’s grace ur 8 yr old wud marry a 61 yr old….if u cannot say amen to that then u knw y it’s wrong.

    • fashionLagos

      March 11, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Wow @ Laide, really? I fear for some commenters here sa!

    • fifi

      March 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      my dear its sad you are angry over something that has nothing to do with you, its culture, there are weirder stuff in many cultures that we would have called taboo, but this has no effect on the boy, and it looks like he has wisdom past his years. If its part of tradition and simply platonic and doesn’t affect my child’s psyche, i will definitely allow it. It was simply an ideology carried out, nothing more. You people act like he will consummate the marriage and live with her all his life, and as we saw it wasn’t that at all. You guys who are condemning it have tragically enslaved your minds to colonial western mentality. Get over it, its part of taboos in culture. Mtchewww…

    • Different views

      May 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      It’s funny to see how ppl are quick to judge ones cultural, when other cultural’s are much different from this, no one died, no one got injured. Think out side of the box ( in this case outside of the US) not every country or continent at that is the same. Grow up ppl!!

  33. dimma1

    March 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    O dikwa egwu!

  34. Ade

    March 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    How is this child abuse? The boy is standing in place of his dead grandfather who never had a white wedding. In Nigeria there are a lot of customs to honor dead ancestors. The woman has been married for 30 years and has her own children. A white wedding does not mean amarried in a church. The 61 year old might probably be a motherly/grand mother figure to him. Now if people have a problem about a young boy seeing his ancestor’s ghost that is a different matter.

  35. Haw

    March 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Stop complaining. Happens EVERYDAY in northern Nigeria, to girls.

  36. ngblaq

    March 11, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    So dissappointed!!!!!

  37. Nnenna

    March 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    This is why Africans are FOREVER carrying last! His ancestors told him to marry her in a dream? Really? They are worried about something bad happening in their family if he didn’t obey his ancestors “call of marriage” but no-one is thinking of the possible repercussions of agreeing to this foolishness either. No matter how hard we try to move forward, there’s always going to be that act of stupidity that takes us right bk where we started! We are really a backward culture. I mean we condone pedophilia in Nigeria in the name of marriage! A grown man will want a girl of 10 or younger as a wife and her parents will agree and the nation will accept it as the norm. You see mothers putting makeup on their girls as early as 5 so make them appealing to suitors when she can’t speak English talk less of read and write. Her job in life is to marry, have kids and probably contract HIV/AIDS and die because of her husband “extracurricular” activities with his male associates! AFRICANS are a different breed of human beings and I don’t mean that in a GOOD way!!!

    • Raae Ann Estradaa

      July 6, 2013 at 4:12 am

      That’s really shady.. All human beans are equal the same in gods eyes. I’m white/hispanic and I’m not racist of any kind because we are all equal the same. You shouldn’t go towards their culture like that !!! It’s how africa is, it’s how they believe, it’s what they do. I mean if you don’t have anything good/nice to say, you shouldn’t say nothing at all.

  38. kikelomo

    March 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Madness….Dissappointed….Tufiakwa……Shocking……Witchkraft………Abomination….Speechless….Disgusting…..It is their culture oh!!!

  39. Idak

    March 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    See the gogo molesting the young kid in the name of kissing. The gogo is a pedophile. Confirmed!!

  40. Landon

    March 11, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Only in the continent of Africa.


    March 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Are you kidding me?????

  42. Wow

    March 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Utter rubbish!!! How d heck is an 8 yr old supposed to know who his “ancestors” are. Nonsense!!!

  43. jade

    March 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    WTH is all this!!! OMG in the name of tradition. Na wah oh. Chei. gbam

  44. omoibo

    March 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    This is some bullocks right here….

  45. Ramadan

    March 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    This the stupidest thing I have ever seen, God help this kid

  46. Hogan

    March 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Am not in any way suprise afterall the Bible made mention of ‘people making up a gospel after their own lust’ in the last days so its just scripture been fulfiled so i thank God am alive to witness this so just start puting your home in order…

  47. beanie

    March 12, 2013 at 12:22 am

    screams PERVERT!!!!!

  48. nnee

    March 12, 2013 at 12:31 am

    may GOD forgive us all

  49. enkay

    March 12, 2013 at 1:24 am

    the ancestors will soon ask him to sleep with her. i wish d family luck

  50. Allelaw

    March 12, 2013 at 1:45 am

    I only blame his parents who have sold this handsome looking young man’s soul to occultism…its not too late son that yolk will be broken in Jesus name

  51. AMEN

    March 12, 2013 at 2:36 am

    CHILD ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!! I just threw up in my mouth!!!

  52. yolo

    March 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

    as a South African i am very disgusted by this whole crap. why do that to the poor child? social services should intervene please or call childline

  53. Ziki

    March 12, 2013 at 10:39 am

    LoL ,i cant stop laughin

  54. Berry Dakara

    March 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

    *coughs* I don’t understand. But why?!

  55. M

    March 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Lord Have Mercy!

  56. temtem

    March 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    This is why Africa will ALWAYS remain a DARK CONTINENT! #RUBBISH

  57. loveth O.

    March 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm


  58. Mimi

    March 13, 2013 at 12:02 am

    At his age he even knows how to close his eyes when kissing a woman. In this case a woman old enough to be his great-grand mother. *God forbid*

  59. anonymous

    March 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    he without sin cast the first stone, there is no big sin or little sin, there is no bad sin or worst sin, all sin is sin and all sinners will share the same fate. with that being said, Lord have mercy on us all

  60. SIMPRA

    March 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm


  61. Stilez

    March 14, 2013 at 9:35 am

    As much as I would love to judge, I am in no place to. Human beings base their decisions on what has been indoctrinated in them, whether it is culture, christianity, budhism,etc. For this reason, what may be a norm for one culture might be an bomination for the other. Study “theirs”, then formulate an opinion. Ndingumxhosa mna, eMonti(East London).

  62. Uniquestuff

    March 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    What is this world coming too! Sometimes things in life can be understood! Sometimes not. In this world it seems things will only get worst if yo go by what you see daily. Always put your trust in God for a sense of directions 1st.

  63. Nelly

    March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Who join them, a native doctor or a man of God call himself pastor. Where were they join? in d church, l mean house of God or in an uncompleted corner where they design with red, black or white clothe with all sorts of unliving thing . As long as l am concern, there is nothing like making ancestor happy. Make Jesus happy by living a righteous life and no spirit will talk to u because the word of God says in the bible after death judgement follows. Be it south africa, nigeria, america or wherever. Christ is one.

  64. stels

    March 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Heyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!evil @ work. Abomination our forefathers did not leave to see. This would have caused a big calamity in the days of amadioha……

  65. jaye

    March 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    This is the trick of the devil them are demonic spirits at hand instead of gem going to God they blaspheme against the word just like the gays the murderer the adulterers and fabricators

  66. Lucy

    March 31, 2013 at 10:06 am

    They are not really married they are just together for the ceremony. As for the kiss many parents kiss their child on the lips. It’s not like they had sex, making a big deal out of nothing.

  67. Precious marvin

    April 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Wel am nt suprise, sign of d end time is very close, pls beware. Life witout christ is ful of crissis.

  68. Silly

    May 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    This woman should be arrested! This is insane!!! are people stupid or are they crazy? it has to be either one or both! unbelievable!!!

    • Xolani maseko

      July 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

      for what if i may ask,they don’t stay together nothing as nothing just a candle blow

  69. Raae Ann Estradaa

    July 6, 2013 at 4:03 am

    It’s really no one’s business to say anything about this … It’s their culture, history. They believe it’s okay, well then go with the flow.. Don’t judge, because it’s not you. His parents were okay with it and, they also did it to make the ancestors happy. It’s not the U.S.A , it’s a total different country. Be glad it wasn’t you.

  70. j.olutoye

    January 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    this is not hon!!!!

  71. bombem

    March 2, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Stupid muggers. Damn autocorrect.

  72. Xolani maseko

    July 16, 2014 at 10:56 am

    its all about understanding and respecting our culture nothing is wrong with this its just a one day ceremony that happen ”’ if my father died before marring my mom it mean my SON will marry my mom just to full fill that gab …..not like their stay together do what couple do its just passing a wish that was left un-comply. if people say its a child abuse in what way ? How about this am a twin when my brother pass i had to pass everything before him as my half e,g get into a coffin and in the grave before HIM that is what i can call it hard and emotional straining Am A South African am proud and understand……..


    July 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

    haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa………………………this horrible.

  74. I am an African too

    October 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I am an African origin. There are so many crazy things going on in so many places under the cover of culture, freedom, civilization or any reason you might give it. What ever practices happen any where in the world is from the DEVIL and sinfulness of human beings if it is out of the rule of GOD that is the BIBLE.. It is not the ancestors who need this, it is the devil spirit (they can call him any name)who is being like god and do what ever he wanted in that society. They have a fear that something happen to the family if they do not do this and if they do not do it the bad things will start to happen. This is because Devil is not God and he will not be merciful like God. Please let us not cover it like respecting a culture, this is evil doings resulting from idol worshiping and which-craft. People let me tell you the truth every human being must have to know that God is the creator and the only God to be worshiped. God is the only and the only God who give his begotten Son Jesus Christ to death so that we all can be save from the eternal death that is the hale which kept to devil and his followers. People we need to know life is not gonna end after death, nooooooooooooooo it will continue but we have to know our destination. Is it haven or hale?This is our choice who ever wants to believe in God the father, Jesus the son and the Holy spirit and live according to the bible will end up heaven by the grace of God. Repent, go to churches which are under the pure bases of the Bible and worship God and live according to his words. To live as a Christian is a lot easier and peaceful than to live under any cultural or social influences. God have mercy upon all of us and help us.

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