South Africa witnessed one of its largest mass wedding ceremonies since the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 800 couples wedded on Easter Sunday.
The ceremony was conducted by the International Pentecost Holiness Church, which blesses polygamous unions that are prevalent in some African communities and deemed authorized by the Bible.
The International Pentecost Holiness Church is known for conducting mass weddings three times a year – during Easter, in December, and in September during the church’s founding celebrations in 1962.
The church’s endorsement of polygamous marriages, which are deemed controversial in some parts of the world, has sparked debate and criticism from many quarters.
However, the church claims that such marriages are consistent with biblical teachings, and the practice has been an integral part of African culture for centuries. The church has been vocal in defending its stance, stating that it is not promoting promiscuity or infidelity, but rather recognizing the realities of life and providing a framework for the proper conduct of multiple marriages.
According to Reuters, a 38-year old woman, Lebogile Mamatela, became the second wife to the father of her child on Sunday. She said: “It’s a special day, I am very happy. I really, really appreciate this moment of being part of the Mahluku family. It’s a great feeling.”
Also, Ditopa, 37, said her husband’s second marriage was “fulfilling what God has created for us, fulfilling the scripture that says women will be leaning towards one man,” reported Reuters.
The mass wedding ceremony on Easter Sunday was a grand affair, with couples dressed in traditional attire and surrounded by their friends and family. The event took place in a huge tent erected for the occasion, with the couples taking their vows simultaneously. The church’s leaders officiated the ceremony and blessed the newlyweds, wishing them a lifetime of happiness and prosperity.
There have been beautiful pictures of the grooms and the brides on social media. A certain historian, Chaudgry Iman, said in a post: “HUNDREDS of #brides walk down the aisle of single #SouthAfrica #Church
Hundreds of brides walked down the aisle on #EasterSunday in one of the biggest mass #wedding #ceremonies in #SouthAfrica since the #Covid #pandemic”
HUNDREDS of #brides walk down the aisle of single #SouthAfrica #Church
Hundreds of brides walked down the aisle on #EasterSunday in one of the biggest mass #wedding #ceremonies in #SouthAfrica since the #Covid #pandemic pic.twitter.com/X0oSbxjLQt
— CHAUDHRY IMRAN ™💎 (@chimran55) April 10, 2023
The ceremony was a sign of hope and resilience for South Africans, who have been grappling with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year. The country has been hit hard by the pandemic, with thousands of deaths and economic losses. However, the mass wedding ceremony provided a moment of joy and celebration, with the couples marking a new beginning in their lives.
The church’s endorsement of polygamous unions may be a subject of debate, but the event itself was a reminder of the importance of family, community, and cultural diversity.