Mbeu Marriage Saga: Does Age Gap Matter?

By Purity Marungisa
In Zimbabwe, Africa and the world in general, the traditional societal set-up expects women to be younger than the men they marry, however, many among us have found love in much younger or older partners – breaking the age-gap stereotype.

Recently, popular musician, Ashton ‘Mbeu’ Nyahore (31) refused to let the age difference between him and his sweetheart, businesswoman Faith Mashami (44), come between them when he fulfilled the customary marriage rites by paying lobola. Mbeu is 13 years younger than his wife.

Mentored by the iconic Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi (late), Mbeu made headlines in 2017 after separating from his wife Praise Chipungu. Chipungu accused Mashami of wrecking her marriage.

Although Mbeu’s “age is just a number” marriage has set tongues wagging, setting social media ablaze in the process – this is hardly new in Zimbabwe, particularly among celebrities or high-profile figures.

Another famous Zimbabwean couple in such a relationship is Njabulo Nkomo popularly known as Tytan and his wife, socialite and businesswoman Olinda Chapel. In March 2018, the couple tied the knot before separating in 2019 after the United Kingdom based Chapel accused Tytan of infidelity.

However, in July 2022 the controversial couple renewed their marriage vows. Tytan is 32 years old while his wife is 38.

Previously, ex-President Robert Mugabe had also broken records when he married his much younger secretary Grace Marufu, who was 41 years his junior.

What many have over the years considered to be taboo is now more of a norm since the turn of the century. People are getting married to a woman or man several years older or younger.

French President Emmanuel Macron is a quarter century younger than his wife, First Lady Brigitte Trogneux whom he married in 2007 making him a stepfather to three adult children from her former marriage that are older than him.

Macron developed a soft spot for Trogneux when he was only 15. She was a drama teacher at a school he was attending, sharing the same class with her daughter Laurence. When he assumed the French presidency in 2017, Macron was 39 and his wife 64.

Even former United States President Donald Trump is 24 years older than his wife, Melania Trump.

Age gaps are hardly new even among the Royals. Prince Harry, the younger son of King Charles III married Rachel Meghan Markle who is three years older than him.

Marriages, relationships and love affairs within the entertainment scene cannot be left out either as they have always been of keen public interest.

In Nigeria, P-Square’s Peter Okoye is married to Lola Omotayo, who is seven years older. They have been married since 2013 and they have two children.

Former American professional basketball player Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr is married to Gabrielle Monique Union-Wade, an American actress who is nine years older than him.

Talented singer Mariah Carey and multi-talented entertainer Nick Cannon had a 10-year age difference. The ‘Hollywood couple’ was married for six years.

American singer, Nick Jonas is 10-years younger than his wife Priyanka Chopra. The couple recently celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary and share 11-month-old daughter Malti Marie.

Actor and producer Jason Momoa was once married to actress Lisa Bonet who was 12 years older than him in 2005. However, they are currently separated.

According to a Worklife Book, views around age-gap relationships are shaped by thousands of years of evolutionary psychology, and generations of social and cultural norms.

Couples with large age gaps often face judgment, and while some experts believe that this could be about to change, others argue that young people could be becoming more disapproving of mixed-age love than ever before.

Nhau/Indaba spoke to businesswoman and talk show host Mai Chisamba born Rebecca Tsikirayi who said the world is like a global village and we are now moving along with time.

“There are no boundaries when it comes to relationships. The way we connect with others has changed and so has the way we view the world. Unions between partners of different races or inter-cultural marriages are now happening more often.

“We have our very own culture in Zimbabwe. When people are getting married, we should first consider what inspired their union before considering their age difference. Are they getting married for love which is the most important factor in a marriage or they are doing it for convenience,” Mai Chisamba said.

However, Mai Chisamba said in Zimbabwean culture age difference is considered for certain reasons and factors.

“Others consider age differences especially when a man decides to marry an older woman. The biological clock is considered for fertility reasons besides other factors but that does not warrant interference in a union as only the couple knows reasons behind the marriage.

“The decision to get married or to move in with a partner is a personal one but for most married and cohabiting adults, love and companionship supersede other considerations, such as the desire to have children someday, convenience or finances,” she said.

Therefore, who are we to judge age gaps at the end of the day?

All that can be said is let love lead! Nhau/Indaba

About newsroom

Check Also

Zimbabwe’s Hillzy: A Musical Balancing Act

Hilary Ngaakudzwe Chipunza, better known as Hillzy, is an R&B and hip hop artist from …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *