[CAPTION]: “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.” Eighteen couples who could not afford a wedding were whisked away with their families for a fairy-tale celebration on Robben Island on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and romance, but what if a couple is financially unable to host a beautiful wedding of their dreams. Seventeen such couples, who would have tied the knot in an office at the Department of Home Affairs, were instead married in a beautiful mass-wedding ceremony on Robben Island on Tuesday, 14 February 2017. One other couple had the opportunity to renew their vows. In its 16th year, the Robben Island Museum and Department of Home Affairs partnership saw incredible reviews on social media across the world.

“Today marked a beautiful milestone for both us and the couples as they embarked on a new journey together, whilst we celebrate 20 successful years as a museum” says the Infrastructure and Facilities Executive Manager of Robben Island Museum, Gershon Manana. “We are proud to be sharing this moment with ordinary South Africans and to further strengthen our ties with the Department of Home Affairs,” Manana concludes.

Dressed to the nines, the couples caught the 08:45 ferry at the Nelson Mandela Gateway to be on time for their 10:00 matrimonial ceremony. Once the couples had exchanged their nuptials, they enjoyed their first lunch as husband and wife and toasted to new beginnings! The reception was held at The Robben Island Guest House. While couples took their wedding photos on the beach, attendees were serenaded by Nur Abrahams, who also made the couples’ first dance one to remember as he performed a romantic ballad. The newly-weds and their families returned to the mainland at 17:00, ready for the journey that lies ahead.

“Having played a significant role in the lives of 36 individuals, we are more confident in our efficient service offering,” says the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba. “Strong, healthy marriages are the foundation of healthy families and a healthy society. Our marriage officers were there to ensure that couples had all the necessary requirements/documents in place; now we wish them all the best for life ahead.”

Robben Island Museum is grateful for the generous sponsors who helped to make this day a success: Pick n Pay, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages and African Equations.

For more information about Robben Island Museum, please visit: www.robben-island.org.za or contact: infow@robben-island.org.za / +27 (0)21 413 4200. Join Robben Island Museum on their social media platforms: Facebook (Robben Island Museum – An agency of the Department of Arts & Culture) | Twitter (@robben_island).

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For media queries, please contact:

Morongoa Ramaboa

083 465 5118

morongoa@reputationmatters.co.za

OR

Nomonde Ndlangisa

076 297 4406

nomonden@robben-island.org.za

More information about Robben Island Museum

Robben Island Museum (RIM) is a public entity responsible for managing, maintaining, presenting, developing and marketing Robben Island as a national estate and World Heritage Site. It was established by the Department of Arts and Culture in 1997.

RIM implements a wide range of conservation, educational, tourist development, research, archiving and general heritage programmes that are designed to achieve its mandate; conserve the Island’s natural and cultural resources and heritage; and promote it as a platform for critical debate and life-long learning.

RIM is also responsible for managing and maintaining the assets of the Island. These include the Maximum and Medium Security Prison Complexes, Robert Sobukwe’s House, the Curio and Village Shops, the Village Precinct and associated recreational facilities, the Helipad and runway on the Island, World War 2 memorials, power generation and water processing plants, Jetty 1 and the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A Waterfront, the Mayibuye Archives, the three (3) ferries that transport people to the Island and the fleet of buses used by tourists on the Island.