Robben Island hosts same-sex wedding on Valentine’s Day

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Two women who met while flipping burgers were among 11 couples who got married on Robben Island on Thursday.
Marcia Jumat and Rozeana Julius, from Parklands in Cape Town, yelled: “Thank you Nelson Mandela”, as the ferry set sail from the V&A Waterfront, carrying them and 10 other couples to the island’s annual Valentine’s Day mass wedding.

February 14 weddings in the island’s garrison church have taken place for 19 years. Couples have to apply to the home affairs department by the previous September to be considered for the experience.

“We were thinking of the weirdest places we could get married and thought of Robben Island,” said Jumat, 38, a medical secretary, originally from Stellenbosch.

“We were amazed when we found we really could have our wedding there.”

Julius, 29, who works as an administrative assistant for a long-distance bus company, said the couple met 10 years ago when they were working at McDonald’s. They started dating four years ago and got engaged two years ago.

Their wedding entourage consisted of their mothers and two maids of honour. The couple is planning a honeymoon in Thailand in May.

Robben Island Museum said same-sex weddings had also taken place on Valentine’s Days in 2016 and 2017.

Another couple due to get married on Thursday under the watchful eye of home affairs minister Siyabonga Cwele were Sandra Mushovhani and Eucriff Ramachuphu, who are originally from Limpopo, but live in Centurion.

“It’s going to be a special one,” said Mushovhani, 36, as the couple and their nine guests boarded the ferry, Sikhululekile.

The couple have been together for 15 years and the bride said the idea of marrying on Robben Island started as a joke. “Today it all ends up as reality.”

– This article and headline have been amended to reflect information from Robben Island Museum that same-sex weddings also happened in 2016 and 2017. The home affairs department said earlier that 2019’s was the first.

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