Traditional Zulu Marraige Rites and BridePrice/Dowry Payment

Traditional Zulu Marraige Rites and BridePrice/Dowry Payment 1
Image by:Vita Bella Photos
Africa is blessed with rich cultures, one of which is our traditional wedding ceremony. Traditional African weddings are much more different from the western weddings – a lot of right and rituals has to be done to appeal our ancestors to guide and protect the newlyweds on
their quests towards marital journey. In today’s article I will be beaming my searchlight on Africa’s largest ethnic group – The Zulu people from South Africa. To help me with this article; I had brief a chat with Siyabonga a Zulu descendant who live here in Lagos Nigeria.

A Zulu wedding, like most African weddings, is vibrant with colors, music, dancing, and everything in between. African weddings are characterized by large people in attendance, the whole community or even the village at large could be at your wedding, so don’t border printing invites.

When a broom is ready and has found someone he wants to marry, he discuss his intention with his “babakazi”, father’s sister or “Malume” his mother’s brother’s wife or an older woman who is married. They are the people responsible to relate the issue with the groom’s father. Same goes to the bride too. A spokesperson “Idombo” will elected to represents the groom at a meeting, which is held at the bride’s home. The bride’s people in turn also elect their own spokesperson that will convey their demands to the “Idombo” on what is required, for the dowry.
The groom’s parent prepares the dowry items requested by bride’s family, to be presented at planned date – Zulu dowry mostly contains these items, but not limited to this;

1. “Nkomo” two fat cows,
2. Money for in-laws (parents brothers and sisters),
3. money for “ukangaziwe” meaning now you know us,
4. “Amalobolo” mother cow given to bride’s mother,
5. “Impahla” consist of clothes, shoes for bride’s father and mother.

After the dowry has been settled, the date for the wedding ceremony will be schedule.

On the day of the wedding ceremony, the bride is decorated with red and white ocher designs on her legs and arms. Bags of pebbles are tied to her ankles (for rhythmic sound during dancing). She wears a veil made of beads and twisted fig leaves, a goat’s hair fringe is worn around her neck.

When the bride arrives at her in-laws, her father-in-law welcomes her. She will then sit on a matt (with her bridesmaids by her side) and not talk to anyone as a sign of respect. The bride and her husband will be given words wisdom by elders not just for marriage, but for life as well.

After that, the gifts will be presented to the groom’ family and the bride will then perform a dance of celebration. She will also have to practice bed making in front of the whole family to demonstrate that she’s capable of her wifely duties.

At the end of all rights they will be merriment, a lot of food and drink for the guests and everyone presents at the ceremony. Then, Children and elderly will be dancing and cheering the couple.

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