The Ndebele people are descendants of the Nguni tribe, said to have split from the great Zulus of South Africa.
Like every other African culture, they have cultural practices that stand out. Marriage is a symbol in African cultures, and the Ndebele is not left out. In Ndebele, marriage is highly rated that an unmarried woman is most times seen as an exception, which makes most of the women go into marriage due to societal pressure over the supposed procreation.
Ndebele does not have a translation for spinster because spinstership is not a thing in their society. Marriage for them nullifies spinstership. If two people fall in love and accept each other, they proceed to inform their families and cement their love with a wedding. Marriage is also permanent, and you can’t ditch someone.
It’s a taboo in Ndebele for a woman to propose love to a man, but she can surrender herself to a man, and the man will have to take her. She can also, by the help of her friends, influence whomever she loves to fall in love with her. If she succeeds in getting the boy to profess and express appreciation to her, that’s final because there’s no-hit and run in Ndebele tradition.
Marriage in Ndebele is a corporate affair. The community supports every marriage and love. If, as young people, it’s found out that you both have expressed erotic emotions, that’s likely to result in pregnancy. Then it’s demanded that you marry the girl since you have reduced her chance of getting married.
There are three marriage rites and stages in Ndebele. A wedding is being celebrated in three steps, which will take several years to accomplish.
The wedding is celebrated in three stages as follows; The labola, which is when the groom goes for bride negotiations, with money and livestock, then take the bride home to his family for familiarization.
The second stage is the Two-week separation, which other married women are teaching the bride, how to be a good woman.
The third and final stage is after she gives birth to her first child. That’s when the wedding is considered auspicious and completed.
In preparation of the wedding day, a list of guest are being drawn and invitations being sent out. Food is cooked traditionally, including their ‘mielie pap,’ which is made from traditional maize, then meat and salads. Fruits, sweets, and Chuks.
The groom’s mother also makes a jocolo; it’s an apron won by every married woman that will be present at the wedding.