By Headman Talkmore Mupambawahle
There is marked increase of Zimbabweans within the country and diaspora partaking in traditional weddings including anniversary ceremonies as well. It is quite exciting and pleasing to witness the uptake of this tradition a thing most Zimbabweans never dreamt of its revival in generation which is now more cosmopolitan.
As a traditional leader it makes me feel proud and honoured to see how far we have revolved as Zimbabweans to understand the significances of valuing and upholding our culture despite that it took us sometime to realise our fore bearers formulated these traditions in our culture to celebrate mirage.
These ceremonies over the past years were almost dwindling and disappearing due negativity and stigmatization. Traditional weddings have been on the declined as they were been wrongly classified as backward (chibharanzi) and also viewed as pagan. However, their resurrection has changed the current status quo because they are giving people options when it comes to weddings.
For those not comfortable with white weddings they now have an option. The flexibility of these ceremonies can be shaped to meet the needs of the couples makes them unique and unpredictable which white weddings cannot provide.
Traditional weddings also vary greatly due to the diversity of our cultures and also intermarriages give them the flavor that is mind blowing because they are customised in those lines. Others fuse traditional and white weddings but some do the traditional wedding prior or before a white wedding like the Zulus who conduct their Umabo after the white wedding.
How are traditional weddings conducted? On the day, brides and grooms wear their traditional wedding attire that symbolize their culture or their own taste because there are no hard and fast rules about it.
The celebrations showcase their traditions at the highest levels in terms of food and entertainment which can be complemented by modern technology.
The entire marriage ceremony also reflects the cultural vows of their tradition. By the time vows are spoken by the couple, no guest would have any doubt regarding the meaning of the process of their promises to each other because of their spectacular and exhilarating the way they are done.
Many who attend these weddings find themselves recommitting themselves to each other more than before because a wedding is exceptionally respected tradition within Africans due to their deeply rooted appreciation for the notion of the family.
Traditional wedding has for purposes like white weddings. The first one they celebrate marriage.
The celebrations can go on for a week or more depending with the affordability of the people involved. Second purpose is to showcase the bride, it’s her day. She is the center of the attention.
The third is that they provide the bride and the groom an opportunity to make promises to each other.
The promises form the basis of the marriage. The forth one is to officiate the couple as duly married husband and wife.
The announcement that the two are now husband and wife is left to the elders of the two families to do so. This enables that care should be taken to be certain that the promises, if kept, will make their marriage fulfilling and secure.
The traditional ceremony has all these ingredients to emphasises and clarifies those promises to the friends and family that attend. Other cultures they make the bride and groom provide spoken promises as they recite their vows to each other using their totem in front of ululating attendances as a way of giving of promising to their ancestors an everlasting marriage.
It is very interesting because it deviates from the old customs of reciting vows which sometimes become boring and outdated. When couples use their totem poems shows their identity, who they are and what they believe in.