Eight-year-old boy marries 61-year-old woman because the ghost of his grandfather told him to do so

Sanele Masilela and already married mother-of-five Helen Shabangu feared trouble with the spirit world if the wedding did not take place

An eight-year-old South African boy has married a woman in her 60s after claiming the ghost of his long-dead grandfather told him to do so.

Sanele Masilela and already married mother-of-five Helen Shabangu tied the knot at a ceremony in front of 100 guests after Sanele claimed his deceased ancestor told him he was in love with Ms Shabangu and asked him to marry her on his behalf.

Fearing trouble with the spirit world if the wedding did not take place, all parties agreed it must go ahead.

The wedding, which was held in the municipality of Tshwane in Gauteng province, reportedly cost £1,000 and had the blessing of Sanele's family and Ms Shabangu's current husband.

The marriage means eight-year-old Sanele is now 'stepfather' to Ms Shabangu's five children, who are all aged between 27 and 37.

Although Sanele was said to be happy to go through with the marriage, it appears the groom already has doubts over the couple's long-term future.

“When I am older I will marry a lady my own age,” Sanele apparently told reporters. He added that he still planned to “go to school and study hard”.

The wedding is said to have shocked the local community but Sanele’s mother Patience Masilela hit back at critics by saying it was only conducted to appease the spirit world and insisted it was more of a ritual wedding than anything legally binding.

Ms Masilela reportedly said: “By doing this we made the ancestors happy. If we hadn't done what my son had asked then something bad would have happened in the family… I didn't have a problem with it because I know it's what the ancestors wanted and it would make them happy.”

According to sources, the couple did not sign a marriage certificate and went back to living separate lives after the ceremony took place.

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