Woman marries a corpse

Kabelo Dipholo
LATE: Uyapo Sibanda

Residents of Chadibe, a small village approximately 25 kilometres west of Francistown witnessed an intriguing ceremony of undying love this past Sunday.

A woman looking forward to finalising her marriage nuptials had her dreams shattered when her husband-to-be died in a freak car accident just nine days before the wedding.

Hloniphani Jothi and Tate Uyapo Male Sibanda had planned to celebrate their wedding on November 23rd in Chadibe.

However, on November 14th at about 1400hrs, Sibanda, who was travelling alone from Sua Pan, had an accident between Mosetse and Kutamogoree after losing control of his car.

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The Voice learnt that the deceased, who had also collected firewood for the wedding ceremony, was trying to avoid a goat when his car veered off the road and plunged into a ditch.

Determined to prove her undying love to her departed partner, Jothi agreed to go ahead with the marriage.

Dowry was paid by the family of the groom to complete the ceremony traditionally and the bride slipped a ring on her husband’s finger as he lay motionless in his coffin.

“It was a touching moment. A moment of true love because very few women would want to go ahead with the ceremony when the other party is no more,” said a witness who attended the funeral.

The wedding ceremony was held at the couples home on Saturday. Sibanda was buried the following day, leaving behind his heartbroken bride.

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While the family is mum about what really transpired at the weekend, the unusual ceremony has set tongues wagging in the village.

“I had never in my lifetime seen bride’s and groom’s maids dressed in their best attire at a funeral.

“It depends on how you look at it. For some it was totally against the norm but for me it was an amazing story of love, of two people who refused to be separated by death,” said an observer.

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Efforts to get a comment from the family were not successful. First they denied that there was a wedding ceremony on Saturday and later, the deceased’s brothers opted not to comment on the said allegations.

“We are in no position to comment on the said allegations,” was their short reply.

Although they deny it, the deceased’s funeral programme clearly shows that there were special messages from the bride’s and groom’s maids, who were part of the programme. The obituary also states that Sibanda is survived by his wife Hloniphani (nee Goth) Sibanda, seven children and two grandchildren.

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