Baleka ties the knot

2016-09-24 20:18
We DO Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete married Moses Mokgatle Khomo on her 67th birthday  PHOTO: Lubabalo Ngcukana

We DO Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete married Moses Mokgatle Khomo on her 67th birthday PHOTO: Lubabalo Ngcukana

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Cape Town - It was a double celebration for ANC national chairperson and parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete and her partner, Moses Mokgatle Khomo, who tied the knot on Mbete’s 67th birthday.

Their intimate wedding took place on a hot afternoon yesterday in her Eastern Cape home village, Mbozisa in Mqanduli.

In the spirit of Heritage Day, which was also celebrated yesterday, the amaXhosa and Basotho people, dressed in their traditional attire, were united in song and dance.

The amaXhosa and the Hlubi clan, to which Mbete belongs, wore their beautiful imibhaco (traditional outfits), while their Sotho counterparts, who accompanied Khomo from his home in Bloemfontein, were in their trademark blankets.

Another wedding is planned for December in the Free State capital.

Guests gathered in a small white tent. Inside, big square tables surrounded by Tiffany chairs were decorated with purple cloth and yellow roses.

When the bride finally emerged from her room, in a beautiful dress with pink detail, there was ululation all around.

Her partner, meanwhile, waited anxiously inside the tent.

They were married by Reverend Zibangele Nogonyothi of the Methodist Church, who advised the pair to “cling on to” each other at all times.

After they said their I dos, the crowd ululated again.

Only a few politicians and recognisable faces were present at the wedding, as it was a small event for friends and family members.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula spoke as Mbete’s friend. Her husband, Charles, and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa were also among the guests.

Media access was restricted as the family said they wanted to have a private family event.

But it was not going to be a politician’s wedding without talk about politics, especially about recent developments in Parliament, where Mbete works.

Her brother, Mphakama, revealed to guests that the family had advised her to step down as Speaker given the chaotic scenes that played out in Parliament in recent times.

“The latest developments in Parliament made the family unhappy and [we] advised her to step down. When things get bad in Parliament, the family becomes very distressed.

“I don’t think the family is happy with her being in Parliament, but the leader that is my sister says she is moving forward with her work,” he said.

“Her sisters are worried about what is happening in Parliament. But we can see she has things under control,” added Mphakama, who had been in exile with his sister.

Mbete was born into a family of eight children. She is the oldest daughter, known in Xhosa culture as umafungwashe.

One of the speakers at the wedding credited her with raising her five children single-handedly.

Mapisa-Nqakula said when Mbete, whom she calls “Bali”, met Khomo five years ago, she was the happiest person and that she was still happy today.

Mapisa-Nqakula also shared her views on what was happening in Parliament.

“Parliament can be very rough. So when [Mbete’s] sisters were up in arms, I understand. Us too, as friends, are up in arms. Sometimes you feel like standing up and screaming,” she said.

“So the least you can do is to follow her to her office after she has chaired a session in Parliament and try to talk her through issues,” she continued.

“It can be very rough. So rough that at times you think it is about time you quit. Because at times you feel that your self-control could be pushed to the limit and [you] find yourself saying things you were not taught at home.

“At times, these things have happened in Khomo’s presence and I have marvelled [at] how Khomo will sit
in the gallery and look at Bali and give her support quietly.”

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