Two South African high school students have been suspended, after their marriage proposal on the school grounds which was captured on video went viral.
18-year-old Mduduzi Tlou proposed to his 16-year-old girlfriend (whose name is withheld because she is underage) in front of cheering fellow students at Tholulwazi Secondary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, last week, with the video going viral on social media.
Few hours after their engagement, the school confiscated the R2000 ring Tlou had bought for his girlfriend and suspended both pupils after they appeared before a school disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Tlou Sowetan, Tlou said they had been dating for eight months. He said he wanted to marry her because she had "changed" his life. "I love her because when I met her, I was an alcoholic and she had changed all of that." The Grade 11 pupil said marriage, however, was not on the cards for another two years. "I paid R2000 for the ring. I bought it from Sterns. I had saved money for it," Tlou said.
He said he did not know the proposal was against school policy. "I was surprised on September 18 just after lunch when they called us into the principal's office, confiscated the ring and asked us to bring our parents the next day." Tlou said he was worried that he was missing out on learning while on suspension. He has already missed four class tests. He wants to finish his studies, find a job and marry his sweetheart.
The girlfriend said she, too, was worried that she was missing out on her schooling. "When they took my ring at school, I wanted to cry. He asked me to marry him and make him the happiest man on earth. We are not going to get married now. We will get married after we both finish school," she said.
The couple's parents said they were elated by the proposal. Tlou's grandfather Jacob Xaba said: "Why is this relationship being turned into a crime? He must marry her. I will even give him my savings for lobola." The girl's mother, Nomsa, said: "I am happy with the step these children are taking. Mduduzi is a good boy. I can't think of a better son-in-law."