I probably mentioned earlier that in African culture, family involvement is quite the rage. Today we will see how one should act at an African-inspired wedding. We will consider how it is done by role at the the wedding:
The aunt of the bride:
- For most tribes, a female from the bride’s paternal side of the family is selected and is appointed as, when translated from some languages to English, the Aunt. In Luganda, she is known as the Ssenga. This aunt does not have to be the sister of the bride’s father, these days anyone from that side of the family can be selected. Her role? She is the one who advises the bride to be on a number of matters, including issues of the bedroom. In these cases, the mother of the bride is left to relax and enjoy, having done her best.
- In some of the traditional weddings I’ve been to, both sides of the family select a person to act as a spokesman. In Nigeria, the spokesman for the bride is called the Olopa Ijoko while the one for the groom is called the Olopa Iduro.
- This man (the ones I’ve been to and heard of select a male for this role) does all the talking on their behalf, thus the title, spokesman. Since the introduction is hosted at the bride’s parental home, it is her family that is introduced, group by group (nieces of the bride, cousins of the bride…) to the groom’s side. These are presented by the spokesperson of her side, while the spokesperson of the groom’s side responds to the greetings, usually handing over simple gifts.
- It is the role of the spokespersons to entertain the guests, since they do most of the talking. They are supposed to balance tact and humor, so that both families are appeased. As a result, for most of the traditional weddings I have attended of recent, the spokespersons are hired.
- What with there being two spokespersons, there is no need for a master of ceremonies.
Parents of the bride:
- Of course, for both the traditional wedding and the modern wedding, the people holding the title of parents of the bride/groom are awarded special honor (in case one is an orphan two people are selected, usually those who are close to the person getting married; even siblings are chosen for this role). Seeking the approval of one’s parents regarding one’s marriage mate is also common among African tribes. The parents are not allowed to do anything taxing – at least they are quite relaxed at the function itself.
The other relatives:
- These (especially the youth and siblings of the newly wedded couple) should be available and ready to help, at any post, at any time. It can even mean running up the aisle to give the groom the wedding rings. My brother has done that before.
- If you are invited to the wedding, all you to do is what you have been doing for all the other weddings you have attended: be happy for the couple (or if you are not, pretend to be), come with a gift if you can, and never weep, unless, of course, the tears are an expression of profound joy. If they are not, I feel for you.
- Those, from what I have been able to find out, seem to be the most common positions held by people at modern African weddings (though I have to admit that the post of “guest” is quite obvious). Quite easy to do, isn’t it?
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