Cape Town - Homeless couple Jolene and Mogamat Jasmine were married on Monday in a dream ceremony sponsored by the generosity of Capetonians.
After seven years of dating and three children, the pair tied the knot in more style than they ever expected at the Central Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square.
Jolene wore a white and pink wedding gown with a delicate tulle veil and Mogamat looked dapper in a black suit with a spray of flowers on his lapel.
“We’ve never had an experience like this before,” Mogamat said. “This is the first time I’m even wearing a suit.”
Cape Town businesses pulled together to dress and pamper the Jasmines and provide decor and flowers at the church. BMW Auto Atlantic sponsored a convertible to drive them to the reception, where Pick n Pay put on a spread of food and drinks and
Charly’s Bakery provided a wedding cake.
“It’s a special day for us, and people are so kind to come together for us,” Mogamat said at the reception, held at Khulisa Streetscapes Garden Project.
“I want to thank everyone. I don’t think there’s any way I can ever pay them back but I appreciate it with all my heart.”
The happy couple’s romance began seven years ago at a corner shop on Long Street.
“She asked me for a cigarette, so I gave her 10 bucks to buy a Stuyvesant. We smoked it together,” Mogamat said.
“I was sleeping in Bo-Kaap, and she was sleeping in Gardens. I asked her to take me halfway to Bo-Kaap. When we walked I put my hand around her and asked her to come sleep by me.”
At first, Jolene said no, but she ended up spending the night, and the pair have stuck together ever since. In the first year, Jolene fell pregnant with twins, and later had another baby boy. “It was very tough for us,” Mogamat said. “We’ve been on the street with the kids through wind and storm.”
A few years later, Mogamat said they were both born again in the church, and faith changed their lives. “Our relationship was strong and we didn’t give up on each other,” he said. “We just pray and hope our future will be better than our past.”
The man behind organising the wedding is the Cape Argus’s columnist and Dignity Project leader Danny Oosthuizen, who is friends with the couple. “I thought to myself, everybody dreams of this big day,” he said. He put out a call on the Dignity Project’s social media platforms, and the response was overwhelming. “Within 15 minutes we had a ring sponsor.”
From there, the other sponsors quickly came on board. Sue-Ann Fourie, who works for a financial corporate, saw the post and took up the cause on Facebook. “People offered to be photographers, pay for flowers, you name it,” she said.
Marisa Scholtz was one of three fairy godmothers from Pink23 hair salon who organised Jolene’s dress, veil, hair and make-up. Pick n Pay’s customer service manager Shaheema Manwaring arranged platters of snacks and juices as well as grocery gifts for the newlyweds.
“It was easy to get the bakery to do a cake, the florist to do a posy and I just dashed through the aisles and got all the necessities,” she said.