22 couples get married on Robben Island

February 14, 2006 15:04

The wind-swept island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned reverberated with romance Tuesday as 22 couples were married in a special Valentine's Day ceremony. The weddings stand as testimony to the government's determination to make Robben Island, a symbol of fear and hatred during the apartheid era, into a monument to love and reconciliation in the new democratic South Africa. A homeless couple and a pair infected with the AIDS virus were among those tying the knot at the ceremony in a small chapel on the island. A government official said that next year, homosexual couples would be invited following a constitutional court ruling that same sex marriages should be legalized. The prison where the African National Congress leader and many others was imprisoned is now a museum, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

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