Ndebele Traditional Wedding Procedure.

In the old days parents were responsible for choosing a wife for their sons. 

A son must have returned from initiation school before the marriage Labola (dowry) could be paid. The value of the bride’s labola is calculated by the number of cows (usually 8 cows) given to the bride’s parents by the groom. 

Before a woman gets married a “bukhazi” is performed; the bride to be goes into a smaller room/hut for a week (to shield her from other men) before the wedding and the elderly women in the community coach her about her role as a wife and her duties as a married woman within the village. 

The Ndebele South African wedding ceremony(Isimanje) is divided into three stages:

Stage one consists of a part payment of the bride price which is usually livestock, after which the bride leaves her family home. 

Stage two takes place when the first child is born.

This is when the final payment of the bride price is made. And yes, if she doesn’t give birth to any children within a “reasonable period of time” the groom’s father is entitled to a full or partial refund of the dowry.

 After giving birth the bride can now wear a special beaded apron known as “ijogolo”; it has a design that represents a mother being surrounded by children.

Finally, in stage three the husband performs a ceremony in honor of his wife giving her credit for all she has done in their time together.

There is also slaughtering of goats and cows and exchange of gifts within the two families. Once the ceremony is done she is referred to as umakoti wakwa….the surname of the man. That is: wife of…