John Mametsa ties the knot

By Drum Digital
10 November 2010

HE’S been on three rugby Currie Cup winning sides, is the first black player to play 100 Currie Cup games and is third on the list of all-time try-scorers for the Blue Bulls. But nothing he has done can compare to the importance of this occasion.

“I love my food but I haven’t been able to keep anything down for a while,” John Mametsa says. “I’ve had big days but this is the most nervous I’ve been in my life...” In a few hours the 27-year-old rugby star will tie the knot with Tumi Hamese, and he’s trying to calm down while we chat to him and his bride-to-be in the dining room of the Road Lodge. The Meropa Casino next door in Polokwane is the venue for the ceremony.It’s surprising the player is on edge – he and Tumi (27) have been through a ceremony before. The couple celebrated their traditional ceremony in 2006 in Polokwane. But that was simpler, John protests. “Our parents organised everything; we just sat there.”

Preparing for a white wedding means caring about colour schemes, hairstyles, flowers and guest lists, he adds. “But then I was just told when and where to show up. My responsibility is to pay.”

Tumi, who’s been sitting quietly, nudges John and says, “That’s the most important role, honey.”

A FEW hours later the bride enters through a rose and lily-covered arch in the casino’s garden and walks towards John.

Tumi, an independent financial analyst, is a sight to behold in a dress she found at bridal design store Lady Marmalade. The gown is dotted with diamante detail and the light organza is perfect for the sweltering heat.

John is a far cry from the sweaty player we see on the field. He’s sharp in a dark suit with a purple tie to match the dresses worn by Tumi’s four bridesmaids.

After exchanging vows they kiss to much cheering and ululating from the crowd. And when they have pictures taken Tumi shows us her three white-gold bands, each covered in 10 diamonds with one larger diamond in the centre of the middle band. “That’s the third ring she has,” John says jokingly.

Soon it’s time for the reception to begin and guests make their way to one of the banquet halls in the casino. Speaker after speaker wishes the newlyweds well but the most poignant speech is the groom’s.

Read the full article in DRUM of 18 November 2010

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