Just the other week, I was honoured to be asked to attend and photograph a local wedding in Massingir. Our head of the special operations group, Frenque was hosting the wedding as the godfather of the ceremony and asked if I could come and take photos. Debora also joined as a guest and to help with photography equipment. It was an absolutely incredible experience! Everyone was so kind and so very welcoming to us. I will admit, I had no idea what was happening half the time, but it was so beautiful. We were greeted by the family and immediately offered tea and a plate of goat’s stomach. Okay, I will be honest, I have never had goat’s stomach before and it definitely would not be something I pick out of options, but it was a special dish they wanted to serve us to honour us, and we could not say no. I snapped some photos of the beautiful bride getting ready for her big day as well as the ladies working on the meal. The way those women work a pot of pap (a cornmeal dish with the consistency of mashed potatoes) is absolutely incredible! You must continually stir pap and it gets thicker and stickier as it cooks, it really is an arm workout and I have only done small batches, these ladies were preparing to feed an army!
The children were following us around everywhere, laughing and checking out my camera. They seemed obsessed with my hair and kept touching it any opportunity they had and were so very curious with every little thing I was doing. They were so sweet and always wanting to pose for the camera throwing up peace signs and grabbing their friends and siblings to get in the shot.
The bridal party broke out into song and dance to announce the wedding was starting and the bride and groom were escorted to the bridal car by Frenque and his lovely wife. We drove through town in precession, everyone hooting and singing along the way to the church. The church was fairly simple, with wood frame, reed walls and a tin roof and every bit of it was absolutely stunning. You could feel the love emanating from it! During the ceremony, they gave a warm welcome and special shoutout to Debora and myself calling us their honoured guests. I cannot tell you how most of the wedding ceremony went, because it was in Shangaan, and I do not speak Shangaan, but there were many speeches, lots and lots of singing and dancing and so much joy. The couple said their “I dos,” exchanged rings and kissed passionately to seal their bond. Followed by more singing and dancing (I really do not know where the bridal party’s energy comes from – they were constantly moving and singing the entire time and each one of them had such an amazing singing voice)!
After the ceremony we went to the Massingir Dam wall to take some photos and then back to Frenque’s parents house to take part in a feast of note! I have not eaten so much in a very long time.
It really was a day that I will never forget, I feel so very special to have been honoured with an invitation and I wish the couple a lifetime of happiness with each other!