‘There’s no turning back now’

2009-12-13 12:11

KAYA FM’s 2 Strangers and a Wedding has netted a bride from one of

Zimbabwe’s most prominent ­families.

The bride, Rudo Dumbutshena, known until the ­social experiment

“wedding” on Friday as Mary, is the daughter of prominent journalist Tendai

Dumbutshena. Her grandfather was Enock Dumbutshena, the first chief justice in

post-colonial Zimbabwe.

The family has very strong South African roots but have not lost

their connection with Zimbabwe.

So when “Mary” finally met her husband-to-be, “Tshepo” (real name

David Malindi), all eyes were trained on the couple’s faces to see their

reaction to meeting for the first time at the altar.

However, the fact that they did not know each other didn’t mean

that their commitment ceremony lacked the pomp and ceremony usually present at a


About 300 guests, celebrities and media representatives were

invited to the ceremony. The bride and groom each had three of their best

friends attending as best men and bridesmaids.

Helen Gouws, project manager of the experiment, said the wedding

was expected to cost something in the region of R1.8 million in total.

“Wedding gifts for Mary and Tshepo have been streaming into the

office on a daily basis. We cannot determine the value yet,” she said this


The venue, the Old Johannesburg Station, was decorated in white,

and a red carpet led to the altar and the radio station equipment, where the

breakfast show’s Good Morning Gauteng hosts Kgomotso Matsunyane and Ndumiso

Ngcobo broadcast the event live.

The parents of the couple also met for the first time, and one

could see a bond had formed between the mothers as they fixed each other’s

make-up before having their pictures taken.

When the groom walked in he was wearing a mask, much to the

disappointment of the women.

He stood patiently, albeit nervously, at the altar, awaiting his

bride’s arrival.

When the bride exited from the limousine, resplendent in a gorgeous

white wedding gown and a mask, the onlookers started ululating and singing

wedding songs.

There was a poignant moment when she began her walk up the aisle

and saxophonist Mpumi Dhlamini accompanied her with a soulful rendition of the

wedding march. The commitment ceremony was carried out by a pastor, complete

with an exchange of vows and rings, all the while with their masks still firmly

hiding their identities.

As soon as the rings were exchanged, the pastor asked the parents

to unveil their children to each other and that was when their reactions


“Oh my gosh! You should have seen how ­happy they were to see each

other. The relief on their faces. Plus, you can’t fake a genuine connection,”

said publicist Neo Merafi.

Malaika’s Bongani Nchang (who was there with his bandmate Tshedi

Mholo), said: “It’s very risky and adventurous at the same time. They should

just keep in mind that marriage is not a contract but a covenant. They must be

willing to love each other despite their differences. There’s no chechela moraho

(looking back)”.

And what did the happy couple think?

“For now, we’ll take it one day at a time and get to know each

other first as friends,” said the blushing bride. Malindi was speechless –

clearly absorbed and unable to contain his excitement at netting such a

beautiful wife.

The couple were expected to go for a four-day honeymoon in

Mpumalanga. They will only get the dream house which is the major part of the

R1,5m prize if they go on to marry. However, they will still get a luxury car

each even if they do not make Friday’s commitment permanent.

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