When cultures meet?


Weddings are big, and often loud, in Malawi! Whether it is the traditional Chinkhoswe’, or ‘betrothal’, celebrated mainly in the rural area, or the ribbon-bedecked motorcade which tours the city centre with headlights on, horns blaring and the bride and groom sitting on the window frames while the whole thing is filmed from a flatbed truck.

Arrival of the bride and groom

Another important aspect of weddings here is that people tend not to buy gifts for the bride and groom but they do shower them with money at the reception or after-party. So it seems logical that if you want to have a fund raiser then a ‘Mock Wedding’ would be a good idea; and so it has proved for Sports Friends Malawi!

“I would never have thought of it myself, but this is the greatness of the Body of Christ coming together,” said Luke Voight, Sports Friends Malawi Director.

“I asked the local Malawian brothers and sisters who are sports ministers what would be the best way of encouraging the local churches, having a good time and raising support, money and awareness in the local churches, and they all said “Mock wedding, we have to do the mock wedding!” So we said all right!”

Sports Friends Malawi, Director, Luke Voight

The Bridal Party was made up of Sports Friends Malawi coaches while the bride and groom, for their ‘second wedding’ were Fostance and Esnart Mtolo – Fostance is Sports Friends Malawi Staff Trainer – while the ‘guests’ came from across the Africa Evangelical Church as well as friends and neighbours of the Voights.

‘Invitations’ went out far and wide to see just how the Body of Christ would “chip in and donate their time and resources to make this happen, and it has been amazing to see what God has done,” said Luke.

The money raised at the event is being divided up and used in two ways, as Luke explained: “Two thirds of it is going to go towards buying Bibles and balls for the church-centred sports ministries in the Southern Region of Malawi. This will be a huge blessing to many of them who are struggling to come up with one or two balls every few months, so this will really encourage them in what they are doing; it will tell them that they are not forgotten and that the larger group of the Body of Christ is with them.

“The other third is going to go towards the ladies’ netball camp, the first one ever, and it is going to be in Blantyre in June.

Money being given to the 'bride and groom'

“We wanted to encourage the churches in the Southern Region of Malawi which are very established in sports ministry but which might be struggling financially and thinking they are forgotten in one way or another, whether support-wise or because the wider Body of Christ doesn’t know what they are doing.

“There are also other churches in the Central and Northern Regions, where we have recently done some basic training, that are just starting, so we will let them get going  and see how they can get their churches behind them, with the hopes of also doing similar things.”

And as a fund-raising event, is this a one-off or will we see more Sports Friends Malawi Mock Weddings?

Bouncy castles are fun for the kids where ever you are in the world!  

“I think we will definitely do it again. It was a success, although timing-wise we didn’t know when the best starting time would be so we just left it up to the local sports ministers; but it has been a great success and we will be doing this at the local-church level and also encouraging the local sports ministers to organise this sort of thing with their pastors and elders in order to generate funds and prayer warriors for sports ministry,” said Luke.

The work of Sports Friens Malawi is supported by SIM MAlawi Project MW 96754