As many celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, couples from across the country gathered to tie the knot on Robben Island.

For 19 years, couples have been granted the opportunity to have their big day at the world heritage site.

The mass wedding is a partnership between the Robben Island Museum and the Department of Home Affairs.

Since the year 2000, more than 200 couples have tied the knot at the island.

Couples from across the country start the process to apply to get married in Robben Island from September. For some, it’s about the heritage and history of the venue while for others it’s the element of doing something different.

One of the brides, Serina Mitchell, says it has always been her spouse’s dream to get married at the island.

“It’s actually been his dream all along to get married here so I support him and this is his dream and that’s how we went about choosing Robben Island.”

Another bride, Rozeana Julius, says that Nelson Mandela gave them a right to be on the island.

“It’s nice to be part of a big celebration and the thing is to be here on Robben Island. Mandela freed us and gave us the right to be here so that’s exciting and we found it looking on the internet looking for weird special venues.”

The Department of Home Affairs has also used this day to educate the public about their rights. Home Affairs Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, has urged the new couples to educate others on the process of legalising their marriages and rights.

“On this important day, we have to join hands together to fight the ills of society; fight gender violence, fight fake marriages and fight the exploitation of those women who are poor, who are led into these marriages of convenience. As South Africa, we must fight together.”

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