HARARE – It was all smiles in Harare earlier this afternoon as President Robert Mugabe’s daughter Bona Mugabe walked down the aisle accompanied by her parents, Mugabe and his wife Grace.
Simba Chikore and Bona Mugabe are now husband and wife.
The two were joined in the holy matrimony by the Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Kennedy Muguti at the first family’s residence in Borrowdale, Harare.
Simba described Bona as a God fearing woman, whose patience is testimony of God’s faith and love to his people.
“Your love has healed me… Now I have you…I prayed for a wife… and wow, did God answer me or what?” asked Simba rhetorically, attracting a great traction from the audience.
Bona paid tribute to his husband, Simba, whom she said has made her a stronger woman.
She added that she is more than excited to spend her whole life with him.
Bona could not help smile over and over again as she narrowed the distance between her and husband-to-be Simba Makore.
The much talked about ‘wedding of the year’ is taking place at the Mugabes’ ‘Blue Roofs’ Mansion in Helensvale Harare and guests include top Zimbabwean government officials, diplomats and South African President Jacob Zuma.
Customary formalities for the marriage were concluded last August when Simba Chikore paid a bride price of £21,000 plus 15 cows to the Zimbabwean president Mugabe for the hand of his 24-year-old daughter Bona.
It has been widly reported that Mr Chikore is a pilot, possibly for Emirates or Qatar Airways, but a British newspaper has established that he does not work for either and people in the aviation industry in southern Africa have never heard of him.
His mother, Christine, is said to be a cleric in a church group known as the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa.
Below are some initial pictures from the wedding courtesy of The Zimbabwe Mail team who defied all the security and got right to the top table.
The Roman Catholic service and reception – which was attended by African heads of state, foreign dignitaries and high-ranking members of the ruling Zanu-PF party – it took place at Mr Mugabe’s vast $20 million private residence in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale.
White marquees dot the 60-acre garden and bronze Chinese dragons guard the front gates.
Miles of road linking the residence to the local country club have been newly tarred at a cost to the bankrupt Harare municipality of about $1 million. Many Zimbabweans complain that desperately needed infrastructure projects in Harare have been side-lined in favour of preparations for the wedding celebrations.
Despite Mr Mugabe’s policy of “indigenisation” – ensuring that black Zimbabweans own majority shares in most companies – the wedding planners are white South Africans.
They sent several tons of wedding paraphernalia to Zimbabwe two weeks ago. The caterers have been flown in from Singapore. However, the wedding planner refused to erect a marquee large enough to seat 4,000 guests and fitted with chandeliers because the ground was too soggy following recent heavy rains.
Bona was born to Mr Mugabe’s second wife Grace six years before the couple married in 1996.