The two families were eager not only for a successful union between Akil and Margot, but for a thriving alliance between the two families. The families remained inseparable during the days leading up to the wedding. Alfonso and Delphene, Margot’s parents, helped her to plan every hour of their new American family’s day. We went to the Cape of Good Hope, on safari, to Robben Island, and to Table Mountain. We shopped at every outdoor market in Cape Town and at the Pan-African galleries, a six-story building bustling with African art objects. We visited museums and historic slave churches and saw the horrors of the townships.
Robben Island is a popular marriage destination for many young South African couples who want to start their lives together on that sacred ground where ex-president Nelson Mandela and officials of the ANC were imprisoned. There are many churches on the island that were established to minister to the souls of the lepers who were once discarded on the island. This island and its churches, once the habitat of confinement and misery, now bolsters hope and happiness.
My nephew’s wedding was held on Thursday, December 12th at Langverwagt Farm, a three-century-old family-operated winery nestled among the lush vineyards and ancient oak trees of Zevenwacht, a village 35 miles from Cape Town. The farm’s gardens and architecture are an idyllic and romantic setting for a wedding; and, indeed many are performed there during the wedding season. There is a historic wine cellar that seats 150 people in quiet ambience. The wine cellar is usually sparingly decorated with huge ceramic vats that once housed olives from the high country; it now serves as the banquet hall. For the wedding, Margot and her family had transformed the hall with hanging beads, and the tables were decorated with beads and flowers.
That evening Akil stood soldierly solid out in that lush setting awaiting his bride-to-be in an olive suite with a Mandarin collar and flapped patch pockets. I was honored to be master of ceremonies and began my duties by greeting everyone as they were seated.
In time, Margot arrived adored in a dress that she designed and nurtured through its many stages to the moment she appeared on the flower-petaled walkway to matrimony. “I am a color fanatic, and the more I pored over bridal books and websites, the more I became convinced that my wedding dress has to be colorful,” Margot told me. In a window of a shop in Cape Town she saw a dressthat caught her eye because of its painted lilac morning glories. She tracked down the dressmaker and commissioned her to make her dress. “Every week I went to her with beads, raw silk, flowers, paint samples, and a new idea. She was wonderfully understanding.”