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02 September 2010

Zimbabwean Wedding Guide: How to Make Yours a Success



I was eavesdropping on a conversation this other day taking place between two women. One of them (I’ll call her Mai T) had just attended a wedding and the other (lets call her Mai Nga) wanted to know all about it. 

The talk was a chatter of rapidly fired excited questions and answers, but I managed to grab the main ideas. These ideas led me to a conclusion: weddings in this country follow a few basic rules which, when followed, will eventually lead to the success of that event. Let me share bits of this animated talk with you:



Mai Nga: Muchato wanga uri sei?
Mai T    : Muchato wanga uri right zvisingaiti, ende takadya!

That is the first rule: lots of food. If you want to make your Zimbabwean guest happy, pile lots and lots of food in front of him - more that he knows what to do with. Don't worry about having food left over afterwards - as unlikely as that might be considering the gastronomical capability of the populace. Actually, having leftovers could raise the feast up a notch on the success scale. 
By the waylots of food means I mean lots of beef, lots of chicken and lots of rice. This is not the best time to serve your favourite dish (shaquille stuffed shells grilled with teriyaki sauce or whatever). Variety and uniqueness is nice but at the end of the day, quantity will determine how the vote will be cast. Just don’t forget to throw in at least two coke bottles per guest.






Mai Nga: Vachatiswa vanga vakachena?
Mai T    : I-i-i, hembe dzavo dzanga dzakanaka! Plus hembe dzevaperekedzi dzaimatcher. 

Therein lies the second clue: all attires should be neat, very flamboyant and extravagant. Personal comfort is an irrelevant factor. Just pile on as much lace as possible on the bride, and make sure the wedding dress train is long enough to require its own insurance. Doubly make sure you look your best, because the wedding snaps are most probably going to end up on Facebook for the entire world to see.



Mai Nga:  Ko pakatambwa?
Mai T    :  Imi, madance anga akaoma. Kuti kutamba ‘ere kwakaita vanhu?

We are not talking ballroom dancing here. Please, this is Zimbabwe. We are talking about house music, rhumba, museve and a little bit of Akon for the urbanites. If people descend on the dance floor and go all crazy enough not to want to watch themselves on the wedding video afterwards…success. Whatever you do, don’t let vana Amai veruvadzano or hama dzabva kumusha kill off the music to perform some traditional choral piece. That trend expired around the time belly bottoms were coming into fashion.


Mai Nga  : Ko zvipo. Mari yakasvika pamarii?
Mai T      : Sha, zvipo zvanga zvakavanda… firiji, four plate stove, dish, hanzvanzi yemukadzi 
                   iri kuAustralia ikatumira mota, kaToyota kakanaka so. Kuzoti mari yakabviswa….

Ok. I have to cut her off there but I am sure you have noticed this is a very popular talking point. This is powerful enough to solely sway the jury into declaring if the wedding was success or not. You have to receive lots of wedding gifts.


I remember seeing this movie where a lady was cracking her head into producing a creative and ‘different’ wedding gift. In the end, she managed to find the couple’s long lost friend appear at the wedding as a surprise to chauffeur the newlyweds to their honeymoon. Sweet. But this side of the equator, lame. Shelve the sentimentality and romanticism at a Zimbabwean wedding and just splash on the cash.


Sadly, the gift giving aspect is beyond the control of the individuals who are about to wed ( although one or two rumours I have come across could dispute this fact). If you haven’t tied the knot and you want to do your bit to fix this dilemma, then there is no time to waste: you better start making friends in high places right now.


A very enjoyable event indeed: a Zimbabwean wedding. It’s quite easy to see however, how this could turn out to be an extremely stressful affair to the organizers of the wedding and in particular, the soon to wed couple. Weddings have become all superficial: concentrating mostly on presenting a certain image than putting focus on the symbolic meaning of the event.


That is why my wedding is going to be a private ‘by invitation’ only event, lavished with some exotic dishes, no gift announcements and definitely no rhumba (that takes care of the potentially embarrassing moment when a highly respected aged relation takes to the dance floor to prove they still 'got it'). I’m keeping the cokes though: whats a wedding without coke? 
Did I mention the venue is going to be on an obscure island right in the middle of Lake Kariba? 

1 comment:

MORSET said...

ha ha ha,so true hey but u left out th length of th motorcade.it also determines th rating of th wedding

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