Weddings and Celebrations: Setting the gold standard

IT COST Kolisile Ntsimango 12 cows and one horse to marry Nombuyiselo Annie, a schoolgirl he knew only for a couple of months, but with faith as their foundation, the pastor from Kwazakhele said it was worth every cent. The Xhosa couple married on June 6 1963 just six month after they got engaged.

Kolisile said he was in his late 20s and working in Port Elizabeth at Transnet at the time. “It was just about the right time for me to find myself a wife so I went home to Cradock.

“I practically grew up with her brothers and I’d always been friends with them but met her in church – she looked beautiful.

“I wanted her to be my wife so I wasted no time. I went to her father, who was well known in the church and asked him if I could marry her.

“She was worth a lot of lobola. I paid £5 per cow from the money I got from Transnet. She is my wife and my friend. I love her,” he said.

Nombuyiselo was 18 at the time of the wedding and recalls how her family slaughtered “one cow and six sheep” when she became an “umakoti”.

“We were married at Wesley Methodist church – in the same church we met – by Pastor Maphekula. I remember having the traditional ceremony a day after my white wedding. I wore a blue skirt and a jacket, white shoes and a matching hat before changing into my ‘ makoti’ wear.

“There was a huge celebration and lots of people. When a girl gets married, you are seen as a new person. “You change from a girl into a woman. “His female family members gave me the name ‘Nothozamile’ which means humble. I remember moving from my house to his home and when I got there, there were more people to congratulate us. There was more meat – we had a feast. “It was the happiest day of my life,” she said. The couple have four children – Bulelwa, Nosipho, Asanda and the late Zoliswa – and eight grandchildren.

The family, who attend Zion Christian Church in Nomjila Street, said faith has helped them through all these years.

“Sometimes marriage is hard and sometimes it is nice – you need to work. I thank God because I can’t say that I made it work all by myself,” Kholisile said. “It’s all about endurance and prayer. “You need to put God before yourself, realise when you are at fault and ask for forgiveness,” Nombuyiselo continued.

Their children are planning a getaway for the two of them to rest.

“Since my mom is looking after our kids, we’re going to book a weekend getaway for the two of them. My older sister and her husband are still making the arrangements. My mom, being the more free-spirited one, is more keen on the plan than my dad,” Asanda said.

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