A wedding conceived for the love of Zion

  • OlgaWedding1
The couple stood under a tallit at their wedding while Rabbi Ramon Widmonte recited both the priestly blessing and brachot for life. The groomsmen held the chuppa tightly over the majestic couple without the assistance of poles.
by HOWARD SACKSTEIN | Jan 25, 2018

This was no ordinary Jewish wedding. In fact, it wasn’t a Jewish wedding at all.

In the dusty streets of Vosloorus on the East Rand, as the wind blew whirlwinds of paper into the sky, Olga Meshoe, the favourite friend of the South African Jewish community, wed her American sweetheart Joshua Washington.

It was a union conceived for the love of Zion and consummated at the Hope and Glory Tabernacle, near Katlehong, outside Johannesburg. Olga is the eldest daughter of Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, parliamentary leader of the African Christian Democratic Party and one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in South Africa’s legislature. Joshua is the oldest son of Dumisani and Valerie Washington. Dumisani is one of the most vocal black religious Christian supporters of Israel in the US.

Olga is the founder and driving force behind the pro-Israel Christian lobby group DEISI (Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel).

The wedding celebrations began in Stockton, California and continued over two days in Vosloorus and Brakpan. Olga looked magnificent in an off-the-shoulder white wedding dress with sequin embroidery, before the entire family changed into African wedding attire in a blue tribal print.

The traditional lunch, held in a hall next to the Hope and Glory Tabernacle, offered chopped herring and mock crayfish to the tables of kosher guests, while those who were not eating kosher feasted on cow stomach, tripe, offal, samp and “runaway feet”.

As part of the wedding ceremony, the couple requested that they be married under a traditional Jewish chuppa. Beneath a tallit gifted by Ari and Melissa Kruger, held aloft by four Jewish pole-holders, Rabbi Widmonte blessed the couple.

African dancers wearing impala skins, and drummers beating rhythmic percussion instruments entertained the crowd, while the wedding reception was punctuated with performers dancing to the jazzy underpinnings of kwela music.

The Hope and Glory Tabernacle is the religious home of Reverend Meshoe. He recently wrote an open letter to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, expressing great disappointment in the ANC’s decision to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel and warning of the dire consequences of such a move.

Olga is not only the daughter of Reverend and Lydia Meshoe, but also a distinguished lawyer, a former partner at Webber Wentzel Attorneys, an eloquent speaker and a fierce defender of the state of Israel and the Jewish people. She is currently studying towards an MBA degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach in the US. Olga told the wedding guests that, thank goodness, she was blessed with her mother’s brains.

The dreadlocked groom is a resident of Stockton and the music director of his church, as well as the musical director at the Zion Academy that was started by his father. Says Joshua: “I’m very passionate about Israel and her relationship to Africa specifically. One of my favourite things to do is write songs that are Zionist at heart, that move people who would not have otherwise been exposed to it. I see all of my work in music as a ministry and it brings me much joy.”




1 Comment

  1. 1 Mervyn S Skuy, USA 27 Jan
    I found this very moving.  Kol ha'kavod and mazeltov to all concerned!


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