On our wedding day, Cijimpi and I will be draped in our Zulu regalia. He will be in his ibheshu showing off his soccer player thighs, and I off course will be in my isidwaba, red isicholo and beads in all the colours of the rainbow. We will be standing in my grandfather’s big yard with our families and the rest of the village serving as witnesses to our union as Induna yendawo beckons us to each other for eternity. And once Induna is done and pronounces us united, we’ll join our people in celebration of our marriage with food, drinks and a lot of dancing until the sun approaches Mqedandaba Village from the Drakensburg Mountain.
But what would a romantic comedy be without impediments of sorts en route to a happy ending? The obstacle to my greatness and dream wedding is my family who are not receptive to my wedding to the strapping Cijimpi. No, this is not Isibaya, or a Romeo & Juliet star-crossed lovers’ reincarnation. My family wants what some Africans of the soil recognise as a “white wedding”.
It seems that my dream wedding is not enough. They want to see me walking down the aisle in a white gown to meet a groom wearing a shiny, oversized suit, resembling KK Mulaudzi from Muvhango, with a priest in tow.
“So Induna yami uMazibuko, is not enough to officiate my marriage,” I queried these colonial tendencies.
“Umuntu ushadela esontweni, umshado ubusiswe,” was the reply my grandmother afforded me.
“Mawungashadiswanga umfundisi umshado wakho usuke ungabusisekile.”
I wonder quietly about how many of these divorced people were married by a priest. And I’m not even a Christian. I’ve seen my grandmother slap my aunt and I certainly do not want to be a victim of her overweight back hand, so my protestations remain in my head.
There is a deep seeded vulgarity in how black people conduct themselves in seeking to be “decent,” “civilised” and to ultimately be in close proximity to whiteness. It’s gut-wrenching.
Ok, let us proceed. Now, just like any other girl I’ve been planning my wedding since I was still in my mother’s womb. Until recently, I’ve always dreamt of a “white wedding”. Heck, I used to wrap a white sheet around my body and waltz around the house pretending to be a bride. But I’m not about that life anymore. I want my big wedding. Not a so called “traditional” wedding followed by a “white wedding”, but one big fat wedding with all the uncles and aunts I never knew I had. And I really think I’ll make a beautiful Zulu bride next to my Cijimpi. African brides are the most beautiful brides I’ve ever seen.
It’s a travesty that black people in some quarters don’t regard you as being married until you’ve had a “white wedding”. We always waste money on two weddings: a normal wedding to appease and seek blessings from our ancestors and a bloody “white wedding” to show that we have some money and are not “barbaric”.
I love that our weddings are not just about the couple getting married but they are about uniting the two families and giving the community something to be joyful about. Any of your friends or family members can become bridesmaids, even the fat ones.
A friend announced recently that she’ll have a wedding but it’s going to be held at the Botanical Gardens. Hawu, I didn’t know her ancestors had moved to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. I’m guessing her family will have to vuma abakhwenyana at the garden, bazoke basale lapho.
Our weddings are a two to three day celebrations of love, unifying two families, and the presentation of gifts by the bride and groom to each other’s families. It’s bright and colourful with abosisi bendawo singing ngama vai vai and of course the over exaggerated dance moves. You suddenly gain uncles, aunts and cousins left right and centre. There is nothing quite like slaughtering a cow and brewing some beer in celebration of your new family.
“White weddings” are for white people. They imposed their way of life on Africans with rifles and bibles. I find their weddings to be rather dull anyway. After seeing the bride walk down the aisle and opening your mouth pretending to be in awe of her beauty, there really isn’t anything to enjoy. No new family members to gain just the same old stuck up people you know. You might as well go home as soon as the bride gets to the altar.
Suka! Anisiyekeni ngama white weddings!