As most of you know I live in the heart of Zululand, a region reigned by the hereditary King of the Zulu people.
Most Zulus today are members of Christian churches, but they are also still firmly rooted in traditions involving the spirits of their ancestors. As a result many Zulus will have two wedding ceremonies in one day, when they want to tie the knot for life. I was invited by one of my Zulu colleagues to capture his wedding. This is the resulting picture report.
The day started with the Christian wedding ceremony in the garden of a local hotel with everyone in modern dress. It was followed by a reception in the community hall. The traditional wedding ceremony commenced in the early afternoon at the groom’s homestead.
The process – from the arrival of the bride’s family in the early morning hours, their traditional ‘camping’ under a tree in the vicinity, the slaughter of a few cows to feed the large wedding party, the preparation of the groom’s family including a visit to the ancestral hut on the property, the approach of the bridal party to the groom’s homestead, the dancing and singing, the interview of the bride by the wedding official and the delivery of the wedding gifts to the grooms’ family – was following a strict protocol with the main aim to please the ancestors.
As normal in Zulu tradition love and emotion between women and men are not displayed publicly, so a handshake between Nothando – the bride – and Muzikayise – the groom – was the equivalent of the wedding kiss after the couple was officially married.
I learned a lot more about the Zulus and their traditions that day, but the main lesson was that they love to sing and dance, to have fun and to please their ancestors!
Enjoy the pictures!
United in dance!
The Two Weddings – Nothando and Muzikayise
Bridesmaids, Flower Girl, Ring Boy, Groomsmen and a Christian Minister – a wedding standard 🙂
With song and rhythm
The groom’s sister in a colorful dress
Reception in the community hall – a hot summer affair 🙂
The bride’s family’s camp in front of the groom’s homestead
The male members of the groom’s family in traditional attire (except for the shoes :-))
The groom and his family inviting the bride’s family into the homestead by dancing around the grounds
The groom’s uncle – the old father in Zulu – was treated with a lot of respect
The groom emerges from the ancestors’ hut
The bride arrives – with her ‘wedding planner and mistress of ceremony’
The locked trunk – with all the brides possessions – is delivered to the groom’s homestead
The wedding official (sent by the community’s chief) interviews the bride
Song and dance – a young girl
Song and dance – the groom’s brother
Song and dance – an unmarried lady
Me at work 🙂
The handshake – equivalent to the wedding kiss – the bride bowing low during the whole ceremony as a sign of respect to the groom’s family
The happy couple in a modern posture