Greatman (Tongai Gwaze) and Silibaziso Masara’s marriage ceremony held at Village Gardens had all the ingredients to make it one of the best wedding events of the year.
Talk of world-class décor, quality entertainment, nice food, drinks and a powerful guest list. The February 6 glitzy event, which resembled a fashion show, attracted musicians, socialites, politicians, businesspeople, Government officials, family and friends.
It was indeed a day to remember, not only for the couple, but for all in attendance and those that followed proceedings on social media. Sadly, the joy was short-lived for the newly-weds. With Valentine’s Day on tomorrow, one would expect the couple to be still enjoying their honeymoon.
This, however, is not the case.
The couple and their families are stressed.
In fact, they are currently under siege from service providers that are collectively demanding more than U$2 500.
But, how could Greatman be in debt when the event was seemingly well-funded?
A war of words has since erupted, with the musician accusing event organisers, TEO Events, of dishonesty in handling donated funds and goods.
“TEO has failed to provide a financial statement or receipts showing how funds were used. Up to now, I don’t even know how much money we got from various people, including pledges and goods. We have been kept in the dark,” fumed Greatman.
But TEO Events, which was responsible for sourcing funds for the wedding and putting all logistics in place, denies the allegations. The events company is famed for organising Sinikiwe Kademaunga and Reuben Zhivha’s wedding party that went viral online.
Greatman said he started suspecting that something was not right a few days before the wedding after TEO Events “completely” took over the event.
“They monopolised everything! TEO directed all cash donations to their bank accounts and mobile number(s) for mobile money transfers. Goods were received on our behalf. We got nothing.
“What is surprising though is that there are service providers that are yet to be paid. I am said to be in arrears of more than US$2 500. However, I know cash donations that came through on the day and before could have easily settled the debts.”
Family spokesperson Mr Clever Gwaze, better known as Baba Billy, was equally furious.
“I am not happy with the way this wedding was handled. TEO Events stole from us. They took over everything and made us mere spectators of our event. Relatives from both the groom and bride side were left with little or no space to manoeuvre,” complained Baba Billy.
However, Matthew Mhembere of TEO Events is not taking the accusations lightly.
He instead considers Greatman and his family ungrateful.
“They now want to ask how much money we got from donations and pledges, yet they don’t even care about the expenses I incurred in making the event a success. Besides, it is not my responsibility to meet their debts.
“They were all there when I paid all the wedding costs that came under me. What else do they want? Anyway, I don’t want to talk to them anymore. I have since blocked their numbers. I don’t wish to talk about this subject anymore,” said Mhembere.
Debts are not the only crisis currently afflicting the Gwaze family.
“My in-laws were disrespected. Honestly, I have never seen a wedding event where a mother- or father-in-law queue for food. It is taboo! I tried to have this addressed on the day, but the organisers would not listen,” added Greatman.
His aunt, Lizzy Gwaze, was beside herself with anger.
“Right now, we are having sleepless nights over this and many other issues that transpired on the day. It was a nice event, but I now regret everything,” said the aunt.
She added that their in-laws — the Masara family — were not given a platform to speak throughout the event.
“TEO Events prioritised their business associates and friends ahead of our families’ interests. We are going to the Masara family to plead for forgiveness since they want to take us to ‘court’ for various cultural violations that took place during the ceremony. We are actually trying to source some money so that we can compensate them . . . ,” she said.