It’s never too late to walk down the aisle

The Sunday Mail

Emmanuel Kafe Recently in Mutoko

IF you thought the wonders of love are age restricted, think again!

Sekuru George Chimwendo Karuru (99) and wife Gogo Marian Nyapasi (87) set a record that probably deserves to be recorded in the books of love.

Imagine paying lobola at the prime of your youth and then waiting for more than 70 years to walk down the aisle with the love of your life.

While that sounds more like a script for a fairytale or a biblical parable, it actually happened in Kumbumure Village, Mutoko.

The elderly couple tied the knot for the first time miles away from the sights and sounds of the bustling city.

Mutoko happens to be the place where this beautiful love story started when this couple met in 1949.

Sekuru George, who turns 100 next year on May 5, and Gogo Marian, fulfilled their long time dream when they finally wed at a colourful ceremony last week.

Vows were made, rings were worn, kisses were exchanged, the cake was cut; and the newly weds officially became Mr and Mrs Karuru.

Love was indeed in the air as they tied the knot. Exquisite cuisines and scintillating music was the icing on the cake that made their wedding a day to remember for everyone in attendance.

In fact, the ceremony was the talk of the village. It brought the whole community to a halt.

People were stunned as they witnessed the exchange of vows.

Neighbours, friends, relatives as well as the couple’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were in attendance.

The Sunday Mail Society established that close family members organised and sponsored the wedding, which also doubled as the couple’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

“It is a dream come true, we have always wanted to do this,” they said in an interview with The Sunday Mail Society.

Marriage officer Pastor Biggy Muneri spoke about the sanctity of the marriage institution.

“It’s indeed extraordinary. In their old age, they have done what a lot of young couples have failed to do,” noted Pastor Muneri.

Back in the day when Sekuru George paid lobola, bride price was mostly in the form of livestock.

“Lobola did not exceed $3 because parents back then valued livestock instead of money. I paid less than $3, two cattle and some goats as lobola and I was given this girl you are seeing today,” he revealed.

The couple has been living together for the past 70 years.

They rekindled their love, taking it to another level, when they recently wedded.

When they made their marriage vows, the couple pledged to take care of each other as they “grow older”.

The newly weds’ love story is as classic as they come. Their marriage is out of the ordinary and astonishing.

How they witnessed and lived through World War 2 is a subject matter for another day.

But how did the seven-decade love story begin?

When he first met a then 16-year-old Gogo Marian, Sekuru George was working as a farm worker in Mutoko, earning 23 cents per month.

Gogo Marian, who hails from the mountainous lands of Nyanga, recounted how they fell in love at first sight.

“Our love story started the day I met George, I knew he was the one. He was very handsome and caring. By God’s grace we are still going strong and growing old together.

“We met 70 years ago in 1949. When he proposed marriage, I never objected,” said a jovial Gogo Marian.

Sekuru George swiftly chipped in.

“I proposed love just like any of you would. I told her that I wanted us to take care of each other and she agreed. We are happy together and thank God for blessing us with long life.”

For Sekuru George, long life appears to be a family thing. His parents are said to have passed on after surpassing 110 years of life.

But throughout the interview, this writer was charmed by Sekuru George’s toothless grin, which he is visibly proud of.

On the other hand, Gogo Marian has perfectly aligned teeth.

Having known each other from a very tender age, the two have retold their love story many times, explaining how they have managed to get to where they are today.

They say the key ingredient to their enduring love is understanding each other.

The couple remains in touch with past fashion trends.

The bride and the groom wore green, white and black African print costumes that reminded guests of yesteryears’ style, elegance and sophistication. The outfits were a fusion of traditional and western garbs.

The blue, white and gold décor blended well with the colour of the cake to create an opulent colour combination.

Great memories were captured as the couple had countless photo sessions with other elderly couples.

Meanwhile, great music kept the guests entertained and the dance floor lit. The couple also showed that they had silky dance moves in their heydays as they periodically dropped mock jives.

They received gifts in the form of money and livestock.

What a rare glimpse of an epic rural wedding it was.

The eldest nephew, Zvikomborero Kapfeni, said the event was an inspiration.

“What our elders have done is challenging, especially to young people. It is a lesson that no matter how old you are, it is never too late to say ‘I do’,” he said.

He encouraged other couples to follow suit.

Bernard Tanatai, a member from their church, weighed in, “At their age, affection is evidently still dominant in their marriage. There are a lot of things we may never understand and this is a typical example.”

The couple was blessed with 10 children, although two of them are now late. Four of the children are now in their 60s.