It is almost unheard of for wedding guests to object to the union.
But at one African ceremony, a couple had a startling interruption – from the groom’s wife.
Ndodana Chifamba, 42, and his bride, known only as Phindile, were preparing to exchange vows at their wedding in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, when the pastor asked if anyone objected to their marriage.
Incredibly, a woman swiftly got to her feet and announced she was married to the groom.
Married: Ndodana Chifamba, 42, is seen with his wife, Josephine Mhlanga, who stormed his secret wedding
As other guests looked on in amazement, Josephine Mhlanga, 46, then declared she had two children with her husband of 20 years – and had only found about his secret wedding that day.
She said Chifamba – who was, by now, stammering – could not marry again while she was still alive.
Following the explosive revelation, the pastor halted the wedding. He told the red-faced groom and his lover – who apparently knew about his wife – that they could not sign the marriage certificate.
Instead, the couple turned their nuptials into an ordinary party, the Bulawayo Chronicle reports.
Mhlanga reportedly first discovered her husband – whom she married in 1995 – was living a double life when the groom’s guilt-ridden relatives tipped her off about his planned wedding.
‘His relatives tipped me about the wedding’ just hours before it, she told the newspaper.
Location: Chifamba and his bride, known only as Phindile, were preparing to exchange vows at their wedding in Bulawayo (file image), Zimbabwe, when Mhlanga suddenly got to her feet and made a startling outburst
‘They said he had emphasised to them that I shouldn’t know about it,’ she added.
Chifamba was reportedly living with his wife and children at the time of his affair with Phindile – but would go away from the family for days at a time – something he apparently blamed his job on.
‘Whenever he visited, he would apologise for spending a lot of time without coming home,’ Mhalnga said, adding that her husband would reassure her that he loved her and wanted to stay with her.
Shockingly, Chifamba even slept next to Mhlanga the night before turning up to wed his new bride.
On the day of the ceremony in the Parklands suburb, Mhlanga arrived uninvited and listened to the music of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services band, which the couple had hired.
As the band performed a drum roll, the pastor then asked if anyone objected to the union.
‘Before the pastor could even say the person should speak or forever hold their peace, a hand shot up and Chifamba gasped in shock,’ a witness at the wedding told the newspaper on Monday.
They said the revelation was followed by ‘dead silence’. The pastor then asked those involved to discuss the matter behind closed doors, before the wedding was transformed into an ordinary party.