I have only been to 2 weddings while being here for the past year and a half. Marriage is a difficult process with the many rules and requirements. I heard it called the other day, the law. In Africa, when a man wants to marry a woman he must first send a letter to her family through his uncle. The woman's family then writes a letter with the answer of whether they will allow him to marry their daughter. One interesting difference is that in America, it would be rude if the man did not go directly to the father while in Africa that would be down right disrespectful. But the letter is just the beginning... then comes negotiations between the two familes. The lobola is the price that the man must pay to the woman's family for the woman. Depending on the woman, the price is set based on age, education, having previous children, ect.
I had the opportunity to go Limpopo Province which is a 4 to 5 hour drive from Joburg to attend the wedding of Given's Aunt. I love getting out of the city and enjoying the beautiful country side!
One thing I have learned to appreciate bout African culture is relationships are more important than time. And I have come to agree whole heartedly with this! You can ask my team as I am always on Africa time... meaning I am always late. So, when they told us the wedding was to start at 10am I knew that just meant everyone would begin getting ready for the wedding at that time. It is all about the process not just the actual event. We ended up sitting under a tree trying to get away from the hot, I mean hot, African sun. I've learned to enjoy these moments!
And you know I love children! I enjoyed making friends with them even though I couldn't communicate with them. Everyone in this area speaks Sepedi so I didn't understand anything as I have only studied Zulu. And most people in the rural areas do not know English. But that doesn't stop me from playing with children and loving on them. You don't have to be able to speak their language... you can communicate through smiling, laughing, and playing!
These ladies did a wonderful job decorating the tent for the wedding service. Only the Bride, Groom and the wedding party sat in the tent during the service. Others stood outside looking in.
When the Groom's family arrived to the Bride's house, they sang and danced in the street outside the gate. They were required to put money on the ground as an entrance fee (about 10 rand which is a little over a dollar). They continued to sing and dance as they entered into the yard and eventually into the house. I enjoyed learning about Sepedi traditions which differ from the other 10 official languages and cultures in South Africa.
There was a lot of dancing... the Bride and escort (Given) with the wedding party. It was a traditional Sepedi dance. I think after watching it for an hour I could do it now!
Here is a video of the wedding party dancing:
Given and I all dressed up. But what you may not be able to tell from this picture is that I was dying. I was sick with possible strep all weekend and hadn't gone to the doctor yet for medication. Standing in the hot sun and getting chills was not that much fun. I survived but unfortunately had to leave early from the wedding. There were two wedding ceremonies... at the Bride's home on Saturday and at the Groom's home on Sunday. Unfortunately, we had to miss out on the Sunday wedding ceremony because I was so sick and needed to get back to Joburg to see a doctor. But I'm thankful for the experience and the pleasure of being a part of Given's family for the weekend.
There were a lot of Mamas and these two were from the Venda tribe. They came over and put me in traditional attire and made me dance in front of everyone... the Venda way, which is basically shaking the booty. And if you know me at all, I don't dance but I tried and got a few laughs of pleasure from everyone. It was worth it! Sorry no video is available :)
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of those who traveled with to the wedding... Given, Philani, Portia, Zach and I. Here is Zach, Philani, Portia and I's beautiful feet :)