Text by Lerato Dumse
Photos by Lindeka Qampi
The beauty of African culture, dance, colours and clothing was in full display when Javas and Mashadi Ndlovu hosted their traditional wedding on April 25.
The newly weds shared their special day with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours at Mashadi’s home in Dobsonville, Soweto.
Javas, a participant featuring in Faces and Phases 2006-14 opted to represent her mother’s culture in the first session, by wearing a IsiXhosa attire, before changing to IsiZulu traditional wear for the second traditional session. While Mashadi looked gorgeous in a Setswana dress, coupled with white converse takkies.
The pair cemented their legal bond through a civil union on April 21, at Rustenburg Home affairs. They were accompanied by the Mabuza family, their landlords who on the day became their witnesses.
Javas and her family announced their arrival at Shadi’s house ready to go to the photo session by singing traditional wedding songs. When the bride didn’t come out, the Ndlovu family continued singing from outside the yard. When she emerged her beauty greeted everyone. The singing continued, with each family singing their own song while the lovebirds proceeded to move step-by-step towards each other from opposite directions. The families started singing the same song when the couple was a few feet from each other, “Umakoti ungowethu” (the bride is ours) was the song of choice when the couple finally reached each other and continued in the same direction.
The convoy then made its way to Little Falls, a nature park in Roodepoort on the West Rand. Although at some point it was threatening to rain, when the wedding cars arrived at Little Falls the sun was blazing hot. While the five photographers who documented this event tried to find the best angle, the couple searched for the most romantic poses and embraces they wanted captured.
Arriving back home, there were more guests who had arrived, and people moved to the stretch tent, which was beautifully decorated to complement the African theme, including the wedding cake. It was time for speeches by family and friends while starters were also served.
The couple, together with the bridesmaids and Lesmates (as termed by Shadi), dashed off to change their attire. They returned wearing Zulu regalia made using different bright colours. The couple had a matching outfit, and made it a family affair by having their son, Mbulelo Lethabo Moqwaisa wear something similar.
Napo Modise didn’t disappoint as the MC of the event, adding humour and also acknowledging the family support received by Javas & Mashadi . Napo also poked at those whose only reason for coming to the wedding was to see lesbians get married.
The couple revealed that they met three years ago, after a chance introduction when Mashadi’s colleague who is a telemarketer gave Javas a call to sell her an insurance product. The personal information that was collected from Javas helped the colleague to figure out that Javas is lesbian, and led to the colleague to play matchmaker.
Shadi explained that they knew after six months of dating that they wanted to tie the knot, but it was in the 8th month of the relationship that Javas asked for her hand in marriage. The bride shared how after discussions they realised that; “a western wedding would not be viable for us because we are proudly African.”
She says their aim was to bring Ubuntu to people’s atmosphere. Adding to that, Javas spoke about the perception that society sometimes has on homosexuality and labelling it Un-African. “I wanted to do things right, so I even paid lobola, to avoid taking short cuts in this wedding.”
The newly weds spent a week of their honeymoon in Durban.