With a turnout of 1,500 invited guests from Europe, North America and Africa and 15,000 self-invitees from all parts of Germany, who lined the route of the couple‘s triumphant ride through the town of Trittenheim, state of Rhineland Palatinate; with dozens of press, radio and TV journalists, including some in an helicopter hovering over the idyllic town, who turned the marriage ceremony into a media spectacle; Togbui Ngoryifia Kosi Olatidoye Céphas Bansah, better known as “König Bansah” in the German media, and his wife Gabriele made history in Germany on 12 August 2000.
Without doubt, the celebration of the matrimonial union of Chief Céphas Bansah (then 52) and Ms Gabriele Jung (then 41) has gone down in history as Germany’s biggest wedding of the year 2000 and, in fact, of the millennium.
Bansah, who is the honorary traditional chief of the 206,000-strong Gbi community of Hohe Gbi in the Volta Region of Ghana, had also made history a year earlier when he was crowned the first wine king in German history, helping to revive a dying tradition.
The fairy-tale wedding, which took place on 12 August, coincided with the end of Bansah’s tenure as wine king of Trittenheim.
After the marriage was blessed in a church, the couple rode in an open-roof car, followed by a motorcade of their guests, watched by thousands of excited onlookers.
The wedding is also remembered for the 40,000 Deutsche Mark-wedding gown of the bride with its 110-metre (!) train which had to be held by 60 children. The spectacular gown was a wedding present from Mr Ad Paes, a Belgian businessman and bosom friend of the African chief.
Chief Bansah and his wife Gabriele had, four months earlier, formalised their marriage at the Ludwigshafen Marriage Registry, at a ceremony presided over by the city‘s Lord Mayor (Oberbürgermeister) and also, according to traditional rites, in the African chief’s domain in Ghana.
It was Bansah’s third marriage and his wife’s first.
The couple are still happily married and the matrimonial union is growing stronger, twenty years on.
Happy Wedding Anniversary to Chief Cephas and Mrs Gabriele Bansah!