Namibia wedding traditions follow a typical wedding cultural ritual such as a Bedouin bride displaying her trousseau of clothes, jewels and presents from well-wishers. A couple’s parents must ritually agree to a proposed marriage for they will be called on to resolve future marital problems. Like any African countries wedding traditions may vary according to their tribe; San people, Nama, Damara, Ovambo, and Herero. Namibia people kidnap their bride before the ceremony and dress her in a leather marriage headdress. After the ceremony she is brought into the house where the family tells her what her responsibilities will be as the wife and then they anoint her with butterfat from cows, showing that she is a part of a new family.
Things the Groom Provides Before the Wedding
Combining two lives, two families and two communities this is the meaning of any other African wedding. In all communities the bride plays a very special role and is treated with respect because it is believe that she is a link between the unborn and the ancestors. The families of the bride and groom exchange gifts of meat at a party to make sure that the meat is fresh. The bride and groom are also carried to the shoulders of their friends to where they will spend their wedding night. The bride must change her clothes and jewelries several times during the ceremony. Before any other wedding ritual happens, first, the man has to discuss his intentions with his family and if they will agree they advise him to ask the bride’s family and go with him to where the bride lives. After several days the rituals of the wedding continue in reverse where in the bride and the bride’s family visits the clan of the groom. “Kuku” is the term for grandmother and a sign of respect. They call throughout the ceremony and day with a loud high pitch and whip horse tails in the air. These women in their 40’s to 50’s traditionally wear bride patterns and headdresses. The following is needed before a Namibia wedding;
- Butterfat from cows, anoint to the bride to show that she is a part of a new family.
- Goat, slaughtered during the evening celebrations
- Lobola (bride price) must pay 40 cattle to the bride’s family, and the marriage is not considered official until the bride has given birth to her second child.
- Bags of sugar and flour
- Omalovu, a chunky, sour and all around pretty foul brewed beer
Weeks before the wedding, the bride must go hiding. On her wedding day she must be all covered up! No looking people in the eye, no taking off the veil, no speaking loudly. She stays in a little room with her “omutike” or her escort a girl who is supposed to escort her on her trip to her new family. Whatever she needs to say to her escort, she whispers.
- Kupeka Msuaki – a ritual where the bride’s female relatives take a gift of toiletries to the groom on the groom’s behalf.
- Giving of Cowrie shells – represents fertility and prosperity
- Kola Nut breaking – are offered and exchange to seal the deal as well as to celebrate when the official wedding announcement is made.
- Bride price – either the man chooses the price and pays her father or the bride chooses the price.
- Jumping the Broom – a handmade beautifully decorated broom that signifies the start of a couple making a home together.
- Ijiogolo – after giving birth the bride can now wear a special beaded apron, it has a design that a mother being surrounded with children.
- Kupeka Begi – a ritual where the female relatives of the groom take gifts to his bride on his behalf.
- The bride receives a beauty treatment – to prepare her for their night. This includes a coconut oil massage and a special perfume and henna applications.