Gumede weds in style

MEMORABLE: Robert Gumede dances with wife Portia at their wedding reception. Pic: Riot Hlatshwayo. 21/03/2010. © Sowetan.
MEMORABLE: Robert Gumede dances with wife Portia at their wedding reception. Pic: Riot Hlatshwayo. 21/03/2010. © Sowetan.

MPUMALANGA and Fifa World Cup host town Nelspruit splashed out on the most lavish wedding celebration in recent memory this weekend.

This was the wedding of businessman Robert Gumede to medical doctor Portia Mkhize.

The guests included A-listers from all over the world and across social and economic strata.

"Nelspruit has never seen anything like this. I have never attended a glamorous wedding like this one in my entire life. We have presidents of countries, politicians, musicians and all the who's whos from all walks of life under one roof," said ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa when he addressed the guests.

Indeed, there was a serious change of atmosphere in Nelspruit as the wedding, which started with the electronic registration of guests at the Emnotweni Sun on Friday evening, went on well into entire weekend.

The registration of guests, some of whom hailed from Germany, China, Madagascar and many other countries, saw people receiving strict access cards for their attendance.

Gumede had booked guests into nearly all the posh hotels in Nelspruit and White River, while special busses arrived with other guests from all over the country.

Traffic officers and police had a hard time controlling traffic, upholding the law and escorting dignitaries from the local airport to the Matume Golf Course where the wedding took place on Saturday.

When the reception eventually took place in the evening in a marquee next to the Mbombela Stadium, guests were treated to fantastic music and delicious food.

When master of ceremonies Trevor Noah called on Phosa to welcome guests, he said: "This is time for networking. Do anything, this is the time."

Among the guests were former Madagascar president, Marc Ravalomanana, SABC chief executive Solly Mokoetle, former SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu, National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, ANCYL president Julius Malema, Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, Absa boss Happy Ntshingila, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

Oversees musicians included Kenny Latimoore and Freddy Jackson while the locals included Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka who was accompanied by her husband Tiny Mhinga, Ray Phiri, Rebecca Malope and many more.

The wedding proceeded to Gumede's home township, KaBokweni, on Sunday, where 25 head of cattle were slaughtered.

Gumede is a director of the JSE- listed Gijima Group of companies. His wife is a medical doctor.