Culture shock

By December 6, 2011Blog
Reading Time: 3 minutes


You decided to combine your cultures into one wedding and now you are facing some interesting decisions, but fear not, many other couples from different cultures also tied the knot in style. You simply need to be able to compromise well. One important note – prepare your guests by supplying enough information on how the day may go.

He was a dark and tall man from Africa and she was as British as one can be. Love struck them hard and marriage was on the cards. Due to the bad weather in Britain, the couple opted for an African wedding in South Africa. Her guests were very delighted about the prospect of an overseas trip as well as a wonderful wedding.

The day of the wedding, the mercury rose to 42’ Celsius. British guests – all dressed in their Sunday best, were quite taken when they had to kneel down and crawl into a ‘Boma’ (a low hut with no windows and a thatch roof) for the ceremony. Inside they found mats for them to sit on. Young and old found a way to sit flat on the floor and the waiting started.

African weddings are not a rushed affair and the bride is typically one hour late. Our bride kept to this tradition. Her guests lost most of the feeling they had in their legs by then, but before they could faint in the Boma, two drummers dressed in small leopard skin outfits ducked under the low door and let rip.

Guests jumped with fear and were shell shocked by this sudden very load noise. Some covered their ears. The drummers went on for quite a while, sending sweat all over the seated guests. Then a sudden silence caught the guests off guard, but just as they lifted their heads to see what was going on, the ‘Sangoma’ (holy man) entered the Boma.

He had a Zebra tail with him, which he dipped into a mixture of animal urine and blood. He swung the tail wildly and sent spatters of fluid all over the place. His cries filled every person with fear as he shouted out blessings and curses meant to drive away the bad spirits. Not an eye blinked as the British guests sat wordless – lame from circulation problems, their ears completely ringing and their outfits spoiled by sweat and blood.

Eventually the bride made her way into the Boma, all smiles, but when she saw her mother on the brink of passing out, she noticed the strain guests were under. There was nothing she could do but wait for her husband to be to arrive all singing and dancing. He took his place and the ceremony began. As I said earlier, an African wedding is not a rushed affair, so one hour later they were ready to tie the knot.

As they said their ‘I do’s’, the drummers, some women and the Sangoma broke out into loud song and dance. This was about as much as the foreign guests could handle and they started crawling on hands and knees out from the Boma. Outside they simply fell onto their backs and lay there gasping the fresh air. The fiery afternoon sun was much cooler than the heat inside the Boma.

Guests might have been shocked and very uncomfortable, but as soon as they were refreshed, every one agreed that this was a wedding that they will never forget. This put a large smile on the brides face as she made her rounds with her new husband in tow.

Fires burned till late in the night and songs from the British and the black community rung up as guests partied away under African skies.


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