Though many young people in Zimbabwe have opted to have modern weddings, traditional weddings, or weddings with some cultural elements in them are still quite common. Below is a list of some exciting Zimbabwe wedding traditions.
Zimbabwe Wedding Traditions
- Lobola (Roora)
Lobola is the bride price that must be paid before the bride is released to the groom. The parents of the bride can cancel the wedding if the amount agreed on is not paid in time.
Previously, lobola would be paid in the form of cows (or sometimes goats), but presently money is the preferred form of payment. The groom’s family can be asked to pay between $1000 and $35000 depending on their financial status. Ladies who are educated, from certain parts of the country, and from affluent families attract a higher bride price.
According to Zimbabwe wedding traditions, a man has to pay damages to the bride’s family if they find out that the two have been living together as a couple before performing the customary rites. Damages are also charged to the man if he makes the girl pregnant before marriage.
The damages are usually a small percentage of the lobola. Most Zimbabwean men, however, rush to negotiate with the in laws as soon as the girl gets pregnant, to avoid paying damages. This strategy however only works if the girl can hide her pregnancy from her relatives.
The Munyai is a man chosen by both families (though recommended by the man’s family) to act as a go-between during the negotiations. This individual usually knows both families well enough to handle any disputes that may arise.
Before the wedding day, the prospective bride is kept secluded for two weeks. She is put in a specially made structure built within her parents’ house, with the sole purpose of shielding her from men’s eyes.
The Mbira is a musical instrument that features prominently at all the key Zimbabwean celebrations. This instrument is made of a wooden board and staggered metal keys. Zimbabweans believe that the music of the Mbira summons guidance from the spirits of deceased chiefs, family ancestors and guardian spirits.
Zimbabwe Marriage Traditions
- Matebele House Paintings
Once bride and groom move into their new home, the bride is responsible for painting the outside gates, front walls, side walls and the interior of the home. A well-painted house indicates that the woman of the home is a good wife and mother. Matebele house painting was passed down through the generations from mother to daughter.
Idzila is a traditional Ndebele neck ring or choker, made of copper and brass, and worn around the arms, legs, and neck. Traditionally, Idzila were believed to have great powers. The wife would receive them as a gift from her husband, as a sign of his wealth. She would wear them proudly as a sign of her faithfulness and bond to her husband after her home was completed. The wife was required to wear the Idzila all the time, only taking them off after her husband’s death.
Isigolwani, neck hoops made of grass, are an important part of Zimbabwe marriage traditions. These hoops are worn by newlywed women whose husbands are yet to build them a home, or girls who are old enough to get married. The grass is twisted into a coil and then covered in beads.
Zimbabwe marriage traditions required that a woman wear Ijogolo, a five-fingered apron after the birth of her first child. The arrival of this child signifies the culmination of her marriage.
- Marriage Blanket
The marriage blanket, also called the Nguba, is given to the bride immediately after the wedding. She decorates this blanket with beadwork woven into the fabric or sewn on the blanket’s outer surface. The wife also uses this blanket to record significant events in her lifetime.
Zimbabwe marriage traditions required that married women wear some form of head covering as a sign of respect for their husbands. Most women prefer the Amacubi, a fancy beaded headdress, though some still opt for beaded headbands or knitted caps.
Zimbabwe Wedding Dresses
Most Zimbabwean brides are shying away from the western white dress, choosing to incorporate the traditional themes into their outfits instead. The use of traditional colors and fabrics gives the brides more flexibility in their choice of wedding dress and those of their bridal party!
Zimbabwe wedding traditions are still very relevant in the present day. If you can, incorporate a few of them in your wedding!