A celebration of black love and african beauty
A wedding that embodied African beauty and defied societal norms was the perfect way for this couple to celebrate their union.
Welcome to the wedding of Lebogang and Vumile Mavumengwana.
Lebogang: We met in 2014 at an Andiccio. We were meeting for business as friends, I was embarking on a business venture and Vumile was going to be the key in how we branded the initiative. I was slightly late and, when I walked in, he felt the angels sing, but I didn’t pick that up from him. I left pondering how interesting and adventurous life could be with this guy. Two months down the line, we met for another “necessary” meeting, according to him, and it was more apparent that we were interested in each other. We started chatting that night. We dated for five years before tying the knot.
THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT
Vumile: I had hints from the first day we met that there was something special about her. She was a lingering thought I could not shake off — not that I wanted to. The more time we spent together, sharing our whole life’s history in a space of a month over WhatsApp, the greater the nudge. Spending time with her felt like being frozen in time and space; a feeling of lightness, peace, and unending joy.
Lebogang: It was in the most unexpected way! We were in Zanzibar on holiday and on this day we had a tour with a local guide who took us to see the mangrove trees, followed by Jozani rainforest. When we got to the rainforest, we asked our tour guide to take a picture of us walking on a path in the rainforest surrounded by glorious sky-high trees and rich shrubbery. We stopped to take a picture of us facing him, and as I turned to hold Vums for our pose, he was not at eye level but on his knee! I was completely taken by surprise and kneeled with him in shock. We honestly can't remember if he actually asked the question, but all I said was “Of course!”. It started drizzling right after; it was truly perfect.
Lebogang: Instead of having a traditional white wedding, we opted to do it our way. I didn't wear a white wedding dress, instead I got a regal dress made by Richfactory, which truly embodied African power and beauty. I also opted to not wear a traditional veil and instead created jewelry with Remo of Creamocraft that emulated the veil. We both had mixed genders as part of our wedding party. We dislike the societal norms that come with traditions that do not resemble our reality. I have a very close friend who identifies as male and Vums has a very close friend who identifies as female, so I had a bride’s “mate”, and Vums had a groom’s “mate”.
We were very intentional in how we used our wedding budget; we specifically wanted to showcase how a wedding can be brought to life by Black-owned suppliers. We used Black-owned clothing designers for the entire wedding party, the décor and flowers were by Tumi of Tumi Blue Events, the photographer was Mothusi Molote of Molote Studios, as were our videographers and DJ, Bilal the DJ. Unfortunately, the venue and caterers were not Black, but we trust that there are more options in this space now. For our follow-up traditional Xhosa wedding, we used Inami Classic, who created beautiful regalia.
Vumile: We had an intimate wedding of 90 guests. These included our close family and friends who made our union special and wholesome. My mind was on autopilot with my groomsmen handling everything.
My heart on the other hand, drum and bass of elation and uncontainable joy. When she walked down the aisle towards me, it was a moment I can’t fully articulate. Our first dance also sticks out for me. We went for a dance-house track, Endless Love by Phonique. Even though I have two left feet, we proper got down and dirty.
TOP TIPS FOR THE BRIDE
Lebogang: Make sure you are marrying a guy who is easy to be with and who doesn’t disrespect you in any sort of manner. Secondly, this is your wedding, let it be a reflection of who you truly are.
As Black people, we have some traditions that we can’t get away from, but there is some room to customise according to both your preferences. Also, don’t leave practising your entrance step routine for the day before the wedding.
TOP TIPS FOR THE GROOM
Vumile: Enjoy the journey. So much can be stress-inducing during the wedding planning. Just like your relationship, trust that everything will happen and fall into place as it should.
Don’t try to emulate what has been done before. It’s your big day, so do it all your own way. Family should ease the load and take your cue as a couple of how you wish your day to be. It will not all be perfect, but take it all in your stride. Involve people you trust to handle your affairs. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I believe good always prevails.
This article first appeared in the August 2021 print edition of S Mag.