Love is in the air and wedding season is upon us, with bouquets of beautiful flowers, long trains and promises of everlasting love.
Homeless couple Amber September (32) and Daniel Kepkey (28) were among those tying the knot this wedding season, and they couldn’t be happier.
The couple wed at the Bellville home affairs office in Cape Town, and with a little help from Dawn Roode, who runs a soup kitchen that they frequent, they were also treated to an all-expenses-paid reception and a four-star hotel stay for their honeymoon.
“Everything came in twos – they got two wedding cakes, two wedding dresses to choose from and lots of clothes, thanks to the support of the community,” Dawn tells us.
Amber says she was overwhelmed on the day of her wedding.
“I was so nervous that morning, I was crying, I didn’t know what to do . . . My mom and all the people were there, the priest and the homeless people were there as well, it was just such a success,” Amber says. “My mom was so excited, she burst into tears.”
Amber’s mom, Mandy September, and Daniel’s dad, Peter Kepkey, were at their children’s wedding, along with about 300 of the couple’s friends from Dawn’s soup kitchen in Kuils River in the Mother City’s northern suburbs.
Dawn says she had suggested the couple seal the deal and make their union official, and when she found out they had gone to home affairs to book a date to tie the knot, she wanted to help them out.
Daniel and Amber met in March last year, at a shopping mall where he worked as a trolley attendant, and Amber was helping elderly people shop for their groceries, after her contract as a survey data collector had ended.
Daniel had spent 10 years in prison on an assault conviction and had prayed that he would be able to turn his life around, with Mrs Right at his side.
“I knew that she was the one for me, the one that God promised me. I can’t explain how lucky I am. She literally came into my life like a light.”
“The first time I saw him I wondered who he was. I kept telling myself to go to him, and when Daniel saw me, he couldn’t take his eyes off me,” Amber says.
“I would tell her that she was the one I would marry and now my dreams have come true. Six months into our relationship I told her – I didn’t know when it would be – but I kept telling her,” Daniel adds.
Two months ago, Daniel popped the question at a bakery in Airport Shopping Centre, in Belhar.
“It was really unexpected, he went on his knee and asked me to marry him and I burst into tears in front of the whole store, I was so shocked,” Amber says.
Amber had moved out of her family home in Bellville in March to live with Daniel at his father’s home in Kuils River, until they decided to leave in May.
“I told myself that I wanted to move on my own because I can’t depend on my father and I told him, and I moved out. We moved out just to be together because I love her so much,” Daniel says.
They constructed a shack for themselves in Kuils River, where they still live, and where they returned after their night in the honeymoon suite in the New National Hotel in Parow.
“Aunty Dawn told us to prepare our CVs so we’re getting those done and we want to rebuild our lives,” Amber says.
Dawn is determined to see the couple succeed.
“God keeps blessing us,” Dawn says. “This is all about empowerment and helping the community, the youth and the seniors. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that I’m very excited because God is providing."