Sunday, July 19, 1998 Published at 00:41 GMT 01:41 UK
Mandela weds on his 80th birthday
Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel: a happy couple
South African President Nelson Mandela has married his long-term companion, 52-year-old Graca Machel on his 80th birthday.
"I have a very short statement to make and a very happy one. President Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel got married this afternoon," he said.
A BBC correspondent outside Mr Mandela's says the official order of service for the marriage showed a Methodist minister officiated, while Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave a blessing.
Graca Machel is known to have resisted marriage up until now as she felt it would have been wrong to marry President Mandela while he was still head of state in South Africa.
He says he will retire from the presidency at next year's election to spend the rest of his life with the woman he loves.
His role in South Africa is now largely ceremonial. The Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, is very much in control of day to day matters of state and is likely to step become president at next year's elections.
This year, the South African media stoked rumours that a wedding would take place to coincide with Mr Mandela's birthday celebrations. The prospect of a matrimonial match undoubtedly contributed to interest in the event both inside and outside South Africa.
A barber in the southern Indian city of Bangalore is celebrating by giving away 3,000 free haircuts to children and poor adults.
He said he revered Mandela alongside Mahatma Gandhi - the champion of India's non-violent campaign to win independence from Britain. More than 100 other barbers volunteered to help with the work.