Blessed by spring rain

By Drum Digital
08 October 2010

HE old isiXhosa saying goes “if you eat from the pot, chances are it will rain on your wedding day” and as dark clouds loom over Port Elizabeth and drops start to fall, guests nod their heads knowingly. But the handsome groom is having none of it. “No, it definitely wasn’t me,” he jokes as he stands next to the chapel waiting for his bride to arrive. “It must have been my wife-to-be.”

This couple isn’t about to let a bit of moisture spoil their special day, though. Former Springbok Sevens rugby hero Vuyo Zangqa is marrying the woman of his dreams, Siyanda Mbasa, at the stylish Plantation estate in PE and it’s all systems go. He’s been through a lot in the past year and has the scars to show for it, but today is about love and happiness.DRUM has been invited to witness the big day exclusively and here we are, waiting with the other 150 guests for the bride to arrive. Siyanda (26) is running fashionably late, giving the guests time to marvel at mother nature. The sides of the chapel are open to the outdoors, affording guests glorious views of the indigenous forest and abundant birdlife.

Vuyo (29) is waiting at the front of the chapel for his bride. She’s due to be delivered in a horse-drawn Victorian carriage and as the minutes tick by guests get a little restless.

“Maybe the horse has run away with her,” someone murmurs. But finally the sound of horses’ hooves can be heard and a smile lights up Vuyo’s face. Siyanda has arrived – and she looks like a movie star in a gorgeous white gown that shows off her curves. On the arm of her father, Don, she walks up the aisle to meet her husband-to-be. As the priest, Reverend Simphiwe Khondlo, asks them to read their vows Siyanda is overcome with emotion, weeping as she declares her love for the former BlitzBokke star.

When Reverend Khondlo pronounces them man and wife and tells Vuyo he can kiss the bride, it’s evident she’s rather shy. She hesitates for a few seconds and then moves towards her brand-new husband and kisses him while the guests ululate. “I was nervous,” she confesses. “It was the first time I’d kissed my husband in front of my parents.”

The pair then make their way across the fields for photographs – but there’s a problem. The rain has turned the ground to mud and the bride is worried about spoiling her lovely high heels. But she’s clearly a practical girl: she simply hitches up her long skirts, slips off her shoes and pulls on a pair of Wellington boots. Then, as Vuyo holds a bright red umbrella over their heads, they laughingly pose in the soft spring rain...

VUYO is so full of health and vitality it’s hard to believe he was left fighting for his life after a car crash in July last year. He had just returned from Edinburgh, Scotland, where he helped his side win the Sevens World Series and was in Johannesburg celebrating when disaster struck: he rolled his car and sustained serious facial injuries.

His left eye was so badly damaged doctors feared he’d lose it. Eventually, after several operations, he received the good news: his eye could be saved. He was in hospital for two weeks having surgery to repair his sight.

Friends and supporters rallied behind the injured rugby player. Fans started a group on Facebook called Player 23s behind Blitzbok Vuyo Zangqa, encouraging people to show their support for the stricken star.

Read the full article in DRUM of 10 October 2010

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