Interracial Relationships

Mixed-Race Marriages Is “Exactly What Nelson Mandela Strived For”

The Maselas and the Daltons came together for matrimony in Pretoria, South Africa, for their children Mante and Andrew. Mixed marriages were illegal in South African up until the 1980s, even punishable by prison. The marriage would have been considered outlandish during apartheid.

Although apartheid is officially over, weddings like Mante and Andrew’s are still uncommon and taboo in South Africa.

“My grandmother, who unfortunately isn’t here to this day, she was more excited than anyone else because she’s like, ‘This is exactly what Nelson Mandela fought for,'” said the bride, Mante Maselas.
 
Mante’s ethnic heritage is Pedi, one of South Africa’s many ethnic groups, and Andrew’s family is from the United Kingdom.

“At first I was a little bit skeptical because obviously, again, something’s new to mebut you have to go in with an open mind and you have to respect the culture and the family,” Andrew said. “And at the end of the day, if I want to marry Mante, that’s something I’m going to have to do.”

As Mante got ready for her wedding ceremony, she acknowledged it’s not always easy being a modern couple navigating traditional African customs.
 
“We’re just doing what we need to do in this period to make our parents happy, and then we go back to our normal lives where we don’t have to fall into the gender roles,” she said.
 
At that moment she had a more pressing concern: “I am also worried about his dancing,” she said, laughing. “He’s been trying to practice the moves.” 

During the ceremony, there was also was a nod to Andrew’s heritage: bagpipes. People didn’t seem to care that Scotland and England are completely different nations. But, for the most part, it was a thoroughly African affair, which included being schooled in how to be a good wife.

The traditional ceremony was part of 10 days of festivities, at a wine farm just outside Cape Town.
 
That ceremony was very much Mante and Andrew’s event. Their friends flew in from around the world for the big day, part two. There were the usual wedding-day nerves and the bride’s almost obligatory late arrival, followed by the joyful walk down the aisle on her father’s arm. And then it was time to party, where Andrew’s dance moves were finally put to the test.
 
For family friends like Rudi Matjokane who lived through apartheid, there was even more cause to celebrate.
 
“Love knows no boundaries,” he said. “In those days, love would know boundaries because then you would be arrested for having it, so it’s the proudest day of my life.”

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