‘We do!’: HUNDREDS of brides walk down the aisle of the South African church in an incredible Easter Sunday mass wedding
- The International Pentecost Holiness Church is known for its mass marriages
- The celebrations started on Friday and continue until Monday
Hundreds of brides walked down the aisle on Easter Sunday in one of South Africa’s largest mass wedding ceremonies since the Covid pandemic.
The International Pentecost Holiness Church blesses polygamous unions, which are common in some African communities, and the church says they are authorized by the Bible.
The mass wedding takes place three times a year at Easter, in December and also during the September celebrations of the founding of the church in 1962.
Lebogile Mamatela, 38, a government employee who became the second wife of her child’s father on Sunday, told Reuters after the ceremony: “It’s a special day, I’m very happy. I really appreciate this moment of being part of the Mahluku family. It’s a great feeling.’
A group of brides wait at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, south of Johannesburg, as they take part in a mass wedding ceremony
A bride and groom stand next to each other while other women get ready in the background
Her new husband, Roto Mahluku, 40, joined the Church in 1993 and married his first wife, Ditopa Mahluku, 16 years ago. They have three children.
Ditopa, 37, said her husband’s second marriage was “the fulfillment of what God created for us, the fulfillment of scripture that says women tend to one man.”
Current wives wore colorful clothes during the ceremony at the International Pentecost Holiness Church congregation in Jerusalem, 100 kilometers north of Johannesburg. First brides wore traditional white dresses.
The celebrations came as a break from a long-running row over the leadership of the church, which has about three million members, making it one of the largest congregations in South Africa.
A bride and groom pose outside the church in Zuurbekom next to two green and white old-timers
A bride walks into the International Pentecostal Holiness Church with a bright bouquet in front of the huge crowd
A group of brides patiently wait their turn in the mass wedding ceremony today
A group of brides await their big moment during the Easter Sunday service
A photo from outside the church shows the brides sitting in orderly rows awaiting their turn
Succession battles between three brothers began after the death in 2016 of Church leader Glayton Modise.
In 2020, five people were killed in a shooting at another church congregation, but last year a court dismissed the case against the 42 suspects.
Security was tight at Sunday’s ceremony, which was overseen by armed guards and metal detectors were used to screen the congregation.