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Friday, 12 September 2014

I got married... the black way.


I always imagined that my wedding day would be the happiest day of my life. I have been married for six years now, and I can safely attest to the fact that, it was not. There are many reasons for this, and a lot of them had to do with my expectations.

On the day, I got the good weather, the big diamond ring and the handsome groom, so on that account, the wedding day was great. It's the before and after that gave me sleepless nights. I expected near-perfect deliberations between relatives, what we got instead, was a silent tug-of-war between the two families, and mostly from the extended family members, whose agenda most times seemed to be-to sow discord and to make sure that the wedding never happened. I argued many times with my folks about why they were letting themselves get bulldozed by some Malome's and Rakgadi's who they hardly liked themselves and what usually came out of these conversations was the unsatisfactory response of, this was just the black way of doing things. 

My white friends laugh at some of the stories I have told them because they could simply not understand why people who were not paying for the wedding had so much clout. They on the hand, dealt only with nominated wedding planners, immediate families and some of their close friends. That sounds like heaven to me. 

The black way of doing things also involved that very controversial session with the older, experienced gogos and aunties called 'go laya'. The bride sits in a room and listens to the advice of women who have been married for many years. It is a practice that I think may have started off with the greatest of intentions but that has been used over the years to entrench patriarchy and scare women into submission. Nothing traumatized me more than this, and were it not for the fact that we had already gotten legally married the day before, I surely would have bolted. The essence of what I got out of these sessions was that marriage was never designed to make you happy (if you got that it would soon change...but just be happy that you saw it albeit fleetingly). That in fact marriage would just make you strong, test you and keep you on your knees in prayer. What I remember most about that day was that my Mom cried throughout the whole session.)

There is also a lot of secrecy that surrounds some of our cultural customs and traditions which is very frustrating for the modern young woman of the information age- who wants to make sense of things and understand exactly why blacks do the things they do, in the way that they do them. 

Please share your views... 

 

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