The Sunday Mail
CHAUFFER driven in a convertible two-door Peugeot sports car sandwiched by an array of top of the range SUVs, the visually impaired couple of John Madhubeko (50) and Lindiwe Putsira (39) from Gweru looked relaxed and unfazed by the huge attention that their convoy was attracting as it snaked from Gweru City Centre to Mkoba Village 9, the church venue.
Cameramen shot videos from vehicle roofs while two cars in the winding convoy hazardously cruised in reverse, prompting passers-by to reach out for their phones to record snippets of the stunts while others jostled to capture photos.
It was a wedding that reminded many that you do not have to be rich or to be a celebrity to stage a five-star wedding. The wedding reminded many that visually impaired and many other disabled people out there also lead normal lives and can be classy too.
Relatives from both parties gathered in their numbers to bear witness, the church was packed as the couple exchanged their vows, tying the knot.
Madhubeko and Putsira’s Easter wedding will probably remain etched in the minds of those who witnessed it for a very long time.
But like they say, until lions have their own historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters. So, until the Creator decides otherwise, the bride and the groom will live to be told of the ceremony’s glamour and glitz– for God did not give them the gift of sight so that they could see and tell their story.
While other couples would sit down and replay a video to reflect on their big day, there is no such privilege for Madhubeko and his better-half. Someone will live to tell them that the car they were travelling in was a posh two-door silver Peugeot, driven by a smartly dressed female chauffer.
Someone will have to tell them that there was an array of other top of the range vehicles completing their long winding convoy.
That the groom’s suit was an elegant grey with a matching black bowtie. That the bride was complete in her long veiled spotless white gown.
But the fact still remains that Madhubeko and Putsira, who have spent almost their entire lives begging on the streets of Gweru, wrote their piece of history on that day, defying all odds and stagging a memorable Easter wedding.
The wedding, which attracted a huge crowd, was attended by fellow blind people who could be seen grinning with joy as the marriage officer addressed the packed Brethren in Christ Church.
The couple kissed for more than 10 minutes, sending the church into raptures of laughter and ululation.
Speaking soon after tying the knot, the couple expressed joy over what they described as “a great and memorable day in our lives”.
“This is a great day, a day I will remember all my life. I have been dreaming of this since childhood and today, God has fulfilled this long-time dream,” said Madhubeko.
He said their wedding was testimony that disability is not inability.
“As blind people, we also want to live normal lives, setting precedence for our kids and doing everything in life that ‘normal’ human beings do. What I have realised is that with God everything is possible,” narrated Madhubeko.
He thanked Gweru businesswoman, Mrs Smelly Dube, whom he said was the main funder for the wedding.
“We spend most of our days on the streets and we have been setting aside the little we get towards this day. We then approached Mrs Dube who is a member of our church and told her of our plans and she was very happy to fund our wedding,” he said. His wife concurred and heaped praises on Mrs Dube for making their day a reality.
“We will forever be grateful for this gesture. May God bless her,” she added.
The couple customarily got married in 1990 and has eight children.
But how did they meet?
Back in 1990, the Gweru born visually impaired Madhubeko set up his base on a pavement along Gweru’s Main Street where he eked out a living, begging. But unlike many of his fellows on the streets, he would not just sit there and beg. lnstead, he made a guitar and designed drums using plastic containers.
Every morning, Madhubeko would cast a lone figure, playing his guitar while completing his one-man band by beating the drums using his feet.
“By then I was not perfect in the way I played the guitar but a handful of passers-by would throw coins into my begging plate in appreciation of my effort. By the end of the day, like any beggar on the streets, I would go home with a few dollars and coins,” said Madhubeko.
However, practice makes perfect.
In no time, Madhubeko became an expert guitarist, imitating the likes of Steve Makoni and the late Andy Brown’s music with great precision. His nimble fingers’ dancing on the guitar did not only attract more people to throw coins or notes into his begging bowel. lt attracted suitors too!
With the adroitness and manner in which he played the guitar, Madhubeko began to attract many and his popularity whirled, mostly around Gweru.
Other visually impaired people started visiting him, mainly to befriend him. One of those people was a woman who would always pass by en-route to her own base across the road.
Early morning, Lindiwe Putsira, walking with the aid of her stick, would pass by and exchange pleasantries with Madhubeko before proceeding to her base.
“Her voice was sweet and I could visualise a very beautiful woman in her,” retorted Madhubeko.
Little did he know that Lindiwe was also his secret admirer, charmed not only by his guitar playing antics but the voice too. The two would soon become lovers and last week, 26 years into the union, the visually impaired couple set tongues wagging in Gweru when they staged what could probably be described as a ‘first’ in the visually impaired community of Gweru.
This was a union of the typical love knowing no boundaries. For in the eyes of many, each would have chosen a sighted partner to help the other manoeuvre the intricacies of life.
But they fell for each other, they are entangled and life goes on with eight children so far.