An offer to win a P200,000 wedding has lit up social media, with aspiring couples publicly revealing how they met in the hope of scooping the big prize. What could possibly go wrong? Mmegi correspondent NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE writes
A competition offering a dream wedding worth P200,000 is going viral on a local social media platform. To qualify, one has to post publicly how they met the love of their life and the story that gets the most likes is in the running to win the wedding of a lifetime.
In a country that has to look over the fence to enjoy prime reality relationship shows on TV in the form of Date My Family, Uyang‘thanda Na and others, Tashy’s competition is a hit, as seen by the frequent comments posted on their page.
People, mostly women, have taken to Tashy’s Royal Garden’s Facebook page to post stories and pictures about how they met their partners and inevitably, some red flags have risen.
What if someone posts an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, as a current partner? What if the beloved you post is actually someone else’s partner? What happens when bitter exes and jealous friends see that someone is planning to get married?
Already, on some of the posts, commentators have challenged the couples, their story and even how long their marriage will last. One man posted by his better half in the competition was accused of being already married for more than 15 years!
“We respect each person’s relationship and it’s not our business to evaluate the quality of people’s relationships,” Tashys Royal Gardens’ public relations officer, Tshepo Sebogodi says when asked about how they know the stories are genuine.
“Look, one may be with you for 10 years and one day they meet someone new and decide to marry them the next day. Were the 10 years genuine?
“It’s a very difficult one. Some even go to the extent of getting married, only to divorce after two weeks for a best friend or other.
“Who are we to really qualify people’s relationships? We don’t do that.”
He adds: “We try as much as possible to moderate the entries, but of course we cannot go to the extent of asking for ‘proof of relationship status’ from competitors. These are adults with voting rights and that’s why we set our minimum age to 21 years, which is above the age of consent.
“We also request the posting party to tag their partner.
“We do not call an interview for contestants first; maybe a thought for next time.”
Besides the allegations of infidelity and adultery by some commentators on the posts, the competition has become a platform for online comedians who are clearly enjoying taking potshots at the couples’ stories and pictures.
From English mistakes, to the chronology of the wedding, to the couples’ looks, nothing is off-bounds.
According to Sebogodi, the page is receiving over 50 entries per day, but thus far there have been no formal complaints. Even as some commentators are claiming all sorts against some couples, Tashy’s says not a single person has come forward to ask for a post to be taken down or to say they were posted without their consent.
“We have not had anyone complaints that they are not in a relationship with any contestant.
“We have not received any complaints from people being posted without their consent.
“Although we have seen people commenting to that effect, the post’s owners have not agreed with them and requested to be removed due to that reason.
“They want to win a wedding worth P200,000. This is very serious.”
The competition is expected to heat up ahead of the April 26 deadline. After that, Tashy’s page admins will focus on contestants with the highest likes, selecting 20 or more entries. These will later be whittled down every month until the top six contestants are finalised.
An award dinner will be held on November 29 at one of Tashy’s Royal Gardens’ facilities, with the lucky couple walking away with an array of prizes towards their wedding valued at P200,000.
“It is a lot of money and although we are not giving out hard cash, these winnings can cause conflict,” Sebogodi concedes.
“However, I am not sure how a competition to unite a family would break up a family.
“Weddings are a good thing and every woman wants to be married, don’t you?”
For a generally conservative society unused to people sharing their romantic secrets publicly, Tashy’s competition is providing the stuff of both reality TV and soap operas. And Batswana are loving it.