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8-Year-Old Boy Weds 61-Year-Old Woman in South Africa

Update Date: Mar 11, 2013 12:29 PM EDT

An eight-year-old South African boy has married a 61-year-old woman after he told his family that the ghost of his dead ancestor told him to.

Sanele Masillela, from Tshwane, South Africa, walked down the aisle with Helen Shabangu after the boy had reportedly been ordered by his dead ancestors to do so, according to the Daily Mail.

Sanele's family, fearing "divine retribution", decided to pay for the wedding between their youngest son of five and an already married mother-of-five, by forking out $750 for the bride and another $1,500 for the wedding, which was organized in two months.

Sanele, dressed in a silver suit and tiny bow tie, walked down walked down the aisle with his elderly bride and exchanged rings in front of 100 guests.  The little groom even gave his bride a kiss on the lips to seal their marriage.

While the union has since shocked the community, Sanele's family defended the marriage by saying that it was just a ritual and not legally binding.

The child groom's 46-year-old mother, Patience Masilela, said that this is the first time this has happened in the family, according to the Daily Mail.

"Sanele is named after his grandfather, who was never had a white wedding before he died so asked Sanele to get married. He chose Helen because he loves her," Patience said.

"By doing this we made the ancestors happy. If we hadn't done what my son had asked then something bad would have happened in the family," she explained. "I didn't have a problem with it because I know it's what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy."

"I would say that this is not wrong," Patience added. "Sanele was fine and he was happy about the ceremony and it was what he wanted. He was happy to get married and very excited."

Sanele and Helen did not sign a marriage certificate and do not need to live together. Both the bride and the groom have gone back to their normal lives, according to the Daily Mail.

Sanele hopes that he would have a proper wedding to a woman his own age in the future.

"I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to," Sanele said. 'I'm happy that I married Helen - but I will go to school and study hard. When I'm older I will marry a lady my own age."

Despite being 53 years his senior, Sanele's bride, whose children are between the ages of 27 and 37, said she was happy with the union.

"I'm married and have five kids of my own, but I know that this is what the ancestors wanted - and now they are happy," Helen said. "It is a ritual. We are just playing now, but it is a sign that he will get married one day."

Helen's 65-year-old husband, Alfred, is also happy.

"My kids and I are happy," Alfred said, according to the Daily Mail. "We don't have problems with it but some of the community members were shocked."

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