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South African Traditional Marriage Process Compared To Other African Marriages - Culture - Nairaland

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South African Traditional Marriage Process Compared To Other African Marriages by Localz: 7:39am On Mar 07
See more: https://www.sunika.co.za/planning-for-umembeso



The traditional Zulu tradition that celebrates the union of marriage between two individuals is called Umembes. Lobola is the process of paying the bride price, umembeso, is the giving of gifts to the bride’s family, specifically the bride’s mother, as a way of thanking her for raising the groom’s soon-to-be wife. In the Xhosa Culture, the bride will bring gifts for the family as well.

There are a number of different stages to a Zulu and wedding, the Umembeso ceremony is done after the ukuvuma ceremony before the wedding and umembeso is definitely not the last, some people see it as the point at which a bride is officially welcomed by the groom’s clan, with confirmation that the bride and groom are now traditionally married.

Ukuvuma is to welcome the groom to the brides family by slaughtering a goat of a sheep. Most cultures do this.

The Umembeso List
For the Umembeso, a list of gifts and their respective recipients is provided to the groom’s family ahead of time, who will then write to the bride’s family suggesting a date for the umembeso. Gifts generally include blankets, pinafores, head scarves, clothes, food, straw mats, and sometimes a live goat. More than just the handing over of gifts, the umembeso is a celebration with dancing and the slaughtering of animals.

The Umembeso Process
The groom’s family’s arrival is greeted with song and dance at the gate to the bride’s family home. Both families compete in song, with the groom’s family asking for permission to enter the yard by announcing that they have come bearing gifts. Traditionally a goat is prepared by the bride’s family as way of welcoming the groom’s family to their home, and in some instances small gifts will also be given to the groom’s family.

Planning For Umembeso
Just like any event, you would need to look at your budget and decide what would be most suitable for your Umembeso ceremony.

1. Tiffany, ghost chairs
2. Tents (Marquee, stretch free standing etc)
3. Couches, ottomans etc
4. Cocktail/bar chairs
5. Flooring (red carpet)
6. Decor items(Center pieces, under plates,etc)
7. Catering (Buffet, s 7 pit, braai, etc)
8.Wedding cakes, biscuits, etc)
9. Wedding gowns
10. Beauty therapy (make-up, etc)
11. Sound system
12. Photography & videography
13. Elegant Venue

Umembeso Programme
This is where many families clash especially when the union is multi cultural. It is important to sit down with your grooms family and decide how the process will be carried out. It is important to agree on the events of the day before you begin preparations.

A general rule of the thumb for an African woman is to abide by the grooms family and follow their lead when it comes to the process. This is sometimes subject to discussion but situations vary by family.




Plan your Umembeso decor to suit your taste. Consider the venue, is it dusty or is there paving? Is it indoors or outside? Consider the weather as well? Will it be likely to rain? If so, what necessary precautions will you put in place for your Umembeso?

Click here for more Umembeso Decor


There is no specific menu for Umembeso Food, however, I can safely say no African wedding is complete without meat and in most instances pap, rice and potatoes. The general rule of planning Umembeso Food Menu for any African wedding is sumptuous dishes. Definitely include meat dishes like chicken, mutton, beef or goat meat.


Umembeso Outfits


On this day, the bride is not only dressing up for herself, she is dressing up for her in-laws. She avoids skimpy clothing or dresses that are too revealing. it is important to consider a stylish but descent dress for this event. Some families insist on covering your head with a doek, the bride will need to discuss this with her fiancee.

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Re: South African Traditional Marriage Process Compared To Other African Marriages by Starzo: 9:24am On Mar 07
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