In a sleepy village known as Slovo Park near Siyabuswa, South Africa, villagers were torn with joy and surprise as they witnessed a rather strange wedding where a mother and son exchanged wedding vows.
The son, a traditional healer from Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga, said he married his biological mother in a wedding ceremony to appease his ancestors. He now calls his mother “my wife”.
On Sunday more than 2000 people turned up to witness the wedding of Buti Mphethi, 28, to his mother Francinah Makunyane, 62.
But it wasn’t the kind of marriage where a man takes a wife to love and have children.
Buti Mhethi married his mother so that she could be accepted into the Mphethi family.
“The ancestors will reward Buti for what he has done today,” said his 62-year-old mother, Francinah, whose family name used to be Makunyane.
Now she is a proud member of the Mphethi family.
But it wasn’t an easy decision for Buti Mphethi who dropped out of his second year studies in sound engineering at the Tshwane University of Technology in 2003 to become a sangoma. He felt it was a calling from his ancestors.
When the ancestors first told him to marry his own mother he flatly refused, and that’s when his troubles began.
The problem was that his father never paid lobola (Bride price) for his mother and so she was never married and fully accepted into the family.
Buti said: “My ancestors came to me in a dream while I was a student at the Tshwane University of Technology in 2003.
“I heeded the call to become a sangoma. But when they came up with the idea that I should marry my own mother, I flatly refused.”
Buti then took his own wife. But in the four years of their marriage, she could not give him a child.
He also could not sleep peacefully as bad dreams kept him awake every night.
Then, without any explanation, his wife left him. His younger brother’s marriage also didn’t work out and his wife left him as well.
That was when the two brothers realized that they had to heed the ancestors’ instructions or they would never be happy.
So on Saturday, Buti tied the knot with his mother.
He gave his “in-laws” two cows, and spent R14 000 on the wedding alone.
“I’m glad that I have finally appeased my ancestors and ensured that my mother is formally accepted in the family. She is now an Mphethi, as she should have been long ago,” he said.
Buti’s parents separated 15 years ago. His father, William Mphethi, currently has four wives.
Buti’s mum Francinah said she was very happy because she never believed that she would ever get married and be an Mphethi.
“I am old and getting married was something that I forgot about a long time ago,” she said.
“But the ancestors will reward Buti for what he has done today.”