By Femi Ogunbambo
The Southern Africans pride in the purity of their young ladies before a proper wedding ceremony.
The ceremony of most South African weddings takes a lot of planning and deliberations before final arrangements are made as to the marriage between the young ‘virgin’ lady and the man – at least this used to be the case at some point.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; our radar focuses on the Zulu Tribe of Southern Africa.
South Africa is called the rainbow nation because of its variety of people, cultures and religions. The people follow many spiritual traditions and religious faiths. In South Africa the constitution protects freedom of religion. Everyone is free to follow whatever faith they want to, or not to follow one at all.
This means that most times nuptials are not constrained to any religion or tribe. Most Tribes engage in intra marriage.
The Zulu Weddings take many forms and shapes. Many Zulu virgins converge on the Enyokeni Zulu Royal Palace in September on a Yearly basis to celebrate the Umkhosi Womhlanga also referred to as the Reed Dance Festival.
The Reed Dance is an activity that aims to promote chastity among virgin girls and respect for women.
The Festival is perhaps the climax of the annual festivities on the calendar in the Zulu Tribe.
During the Reed Dance, virgins fetch the reeds from the river and take them to the palace for the Royal King to inspect.
During the course of this festival, the Zulu King chooses his Youngest Wife.
These days in Zulu weddings, the bride usually changes to more than three different Attires on the wedding day because she has to show off to her in-laws how beautiful she can be in different dresses and different colours.
Although it isn’t a Zulu custom for the Bride to wear the white wedding dress, however nowadays brides prefer to do this.
The Zulu wedding takes place at the church, and during the church wedding, the Bride Adorns her white wedding gown.
After the church wedding, the wedding ceremony then continues at Bridegroom’s house for the traditional wedding.
The bride changes into her traditional attire for this part.
During the wedding ceremony, the family of the Groom slaughters a cow to demonstrate that they have accepted the Bride into their family.
At the Traditional Wedding, the families of the bride and groom sing, dance and make merry.
The Custom then demands that the Bride puts money into the Stomach of the cow and dances round the cow as the crowd looks on.
This act signifies that she is now a full member of the family. In the Zulu Tribe, The wedding ceremony usually ends with the bride giving gifts in the form of blankets to her new family, including the compound family.
This Tradition is referred as “ukwaba”. The family then cover themselves with the blankets in an open up area where everybody can see them.
Even the long-deceased close relatives receive gifts and also the Tribe’s Heads of the Village.
The spectators then ululate, shout, and dance for the family.
After all these activities, the ceremony comes to an end and everyone returns to their respective homes. At this point, the wedding is concluded, sealed and wrapped up.
The aim of the purity before marriage for young ladies is for them to have strong morals thus giving women power over their bodies and also self-respect in addition to dignity.
Hope you learnt something?
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