November 15, 2010

Xhosa Wedding and Ceremony

As with the other African cultures the Xhosa wedding traditions are not unalike, the Xhosa bride on her wedding day is required to show reluctance and sadness during her wedding, for she is leaving her own family to go and live with strangers.  A Xhosa Wedding and Marriage is a traditional bond between relatives of two families and the traditional Labola legitimises the marriage and ensures that any children the wife may bear will belong to the Grooms lineage.The ritual of killing of animals in sacrifice marks a full traditional Xhosa wedding ceremony.

Spending a childhood in Cape Town one becomes familiar with the local Xhosa people. So many times along the way we forget to ask the people that walk along-side us in this beautiful country, what it is that they believe and how do they share their moments with those they love and where do they come from.This brief look into the tradition of Xhosa weddings and history of the people will hopefully allow you for a moment to consider the cultures of those around us. Maybe even celebrate in the colour and spirit of it all.

A brief history into the Xhosa people, at the time of white settlement in the Cape there were Xhosa groups living far inland, from 1770 onwards the Trek Boers who had approached from the West confronted them. Both the Boers and the Xhosa were stock farmers and this led to competition for grazing lands, which led to quarrels and then wars. By the middle of the 19th century all the land, which had been inhabited by the Xhosa people, was now in the hands of the white settlers. After the union in 1910 when the ‘democratic’ state was formed and black people were subjected to policies of concealed expatriation.

Through the Native land law where a small percentage of land was reserved for black people the Homelands of the Ciskei and the Transkei were declared settlements for the Xhosa people. Only after free and fair elections in 1994 was the homeland policy abolished and these areas were integrated into the new provinces.

Article is taken from ‘Weddings in Africa’ by Justine Lamb (now Engelbrecht)

ISBN 978-0-620-41164-6

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