An elderly man in his late 90s has finally married his girlfriend of over 20 years.
Johana Maritim Butuk and Alice Jemeli, 40, married in a colorful wedding ceremony on Saturday, bringing to an end two decades of dating.
Jemeli was only 20 years old when they first met in 2003, and Butuk was 69. Despite their age differences, their love became stronger as they dated.
Butuk proposed to her sweetheart in December of last year, and she finally said ‘Yes, I Do’ and exchanged marriage vows at a nearby Catholic Church.
Batuk, a nonagenarian had never married or dated in his life before meeting her current wife.
“I did not marry my entire life because I have always wanted peace of mind. I was also busy with menial jobs, but I decided to marry [at a time when] all my friends are already grandfathers.
“When I met my wife, I discovered that I found what I wanted in life. Alice talks less and helps navigate challenges in life,” Butuk told Standard Digital.
He adds: “She was young when we first met, and I loved her because of her humility. I was first introduced to her by a woman called Tabasei, and we connected well despite the age differences. I am happy because my wife is now mature and responsible.”
Jemeli said she was in an abusive relationship before meeting her new darling.
“I loved him when we first met in 2003. I had quit an abusive relationship, but when I met Mzee (Butuk) through a woman, I loved him because he was humble and listened to me. He was old, and I decided to be his helper because I knew that I would become a married woman like other women,” Jemeli says
“Many people did not approve of our marriage because they thought I was after mzee (an elderly person) wealth. But it is not true because my husband has no wealth. Compared to the young men that I dated before falling in love with my husband,” said Jelimi.
According to her, Butuk was homeless and unkempt when they first met, and she takes pride in having changed his life. Butuk had a home with his brother, arap Kenei, who passed away in 2010.
Contributions from neighbors and well-wishers who learned of their intention to go down the aisle helped make their colorful wedding possible.
“Our wedding was colourful, and we are celebrating it at our humble home. We have no money because even our wedding ceremony was financed by neighbours and our friends in the Church. We can’t even go to the nearby Soy Club for a meal,” she says.
The couple says they plan to build a bigger and more comfortable house despite their financial challenges.
“Many people did not approve of our marriage because they thought I was after Mzee’s wealth. But it is not true because my husband has no wealth. Compared to young men that I dated before falling in love with my husband, I chose mzee because he gives me the freedom to work and take care of my children in peace,” Jemeli explains.
STORY: THE STANDARD