Polygamy may be common in many communities across the globe, but simultaneous weddings accompanied by blessing on the altar, are very, very rare.
A South African man did what many saw as the 'unthinkable', when he walked four brides to the altar, marrying them at the same time.
The man, Milton Mbhele, 44, and father of 10, who showed his undying and equal love for all four brides at a lavish 'white' wedding held in a giant marquee in Kwa Zulu Natal, said he did that to save money and prevent cheating.
"This is the day I've been waiting for all my life. It doesn't help to have one wife and have 30 girlfriends; that drains you so much you end up with no money," said the local government employee before taking his multiple vows.
Mbhele, who has seven children with his four brides and three from previous relationships, cited his Zulu "culture" and economic reasons for the unusual wedding. He said he loved his brides equally and there was good competition among them.
Milton, municipal manager in nearby Indaka, showed up for his wedding in a white limousine with his four brides.
The women, in white gowns, each received rings and a kiss from the groom at a ceremony last Saturday attended by hundreds of people. On Sunday, the families gathered for a second traditional Zulu wedding and planned to exchange gifts on Monday.
Mbhele has already been married to Thobile Vilakazi for 12 years. His "middle wives" — as he described them — are Zanele Langa and Happiness Mdlolo, both 24.
The youngest wife, 23-year-old Smangele Cele, said she was looking forward to marrying Mbhele, even though it means she'll have to share him. She said the wives planned to live separately, with their husband rotating between them.
"It is because of the way in which he shows his love for me. He loves me in all ways," she said, adding: “We will not be living in the same house and we take each other as friends."
On how he hoped Vilakazi, his first wife would react, Mbhele said: "I want her to be happy.
I think getting married to her for the second time would make her happy since I will be taking in three other wives so this will relieve her in some way", as he presented her with a golden wristwatch.
South African law recognizes traditional polygamous marriages, and even President Jacob Zuma has three wives. But Saturday's wedding was exception in Kwa Zulu history.
Eight cows were slaughtered on Sunday at the groom's home for the traditional part of the ceremony.
“Now You May Kiss Your Brides” - Mmmwa Source: NewsOne