Getting married is more a communal then a personal affair in Africa. This can be a challenge in that there can be so many opinions and sides of people to consider. It can also be a blessing as so many people come together to ensure that the wedding is a success by chipping in all manner of ways – including financial.
Because it is a communal affair; there are a number of ceremonies to consider.
One of the bigger ceremonies is the dowry ceremony – referred to as kûracia (pronounced as ko-rashia). At this ceremony the man and his family visit the girl’s home with a number of things that have already been previously agreed upon. Additional items are asked for on the day – all subject to how well the young man’s spokesman can negotiate with the girl’s family spokesman. The parents do not talk but express their wishes to the respective spokespeople in advance.
The day also includes a bit of drama when the girl and her friends are all veiled and the man is asked to choose who his bride is. Picking the wrong girl translates into a fine – which is translated into monetary terms. The young man is accompanied with his friends while carrying out this task and is allowed to seek their counsel.
Paul and his cousins trying to determine which of the veiled ladies could be “the one”
In modern times, the girls have found new “improvised’ ways to give some help to the distressed man. For example: the girl wearing her favourite perfume or wearing a particular shoe. This is of course until one of the aunties insists that she be covered from top to toe!
Myself and the girls before the veiling
The girls covered up!
Many ceremonies happened in the past but in present time this have been condensed into two or three. This is due to the time constraints on people’s availability and of course not to mention the cost implication as well.