by Luh Cele
Where: B Section, Umlazi Township
Firstly I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the bridegroom Happy Mchunu and bride Vuyisile Tshabalala for taking the next step in their relationship without any hesitation.
The true reflection of love between partners grows day by day and remains unconditional.
Happy and Vuyisile took the decision to marry and live happily ever after.
Living together as a couple before getting married is unacceptable in the Zulu culture.
Moreover homosexuals take the same route that is followed by heterosexuals in order to marry.
There is no alternative route, lesbian pay ilobolo like any other man, in order to be accepted by the bride’s family.
This is the route that Happy has decided to take, the day was well organized and it was maintained accordingly.
We were lucky to witness this tremendous day of ilobolo being paid with inkanyiso.org.
The attendance was amazing and everybody came in numbers. It was not only attended by homosexuals but also heterosexuals were there to support the host.
The mood was jovial and everybody was happy, it was palpable. The elderly were singing, shrilling and performing the traditional Zulu dance “ukusina”.
The ceremony started about 12pm when everybody was ready to celebrate with both Happy and Vuyisile’s family.
The bridegroom’s family came with blankets, and variety of food, drinks, vegetables, two live goats etc. The goats were well dressed in blankets, aprons and handkerchiefs etc.
When the bridegroom’s family was standing in the yard, the bride’s father came and welcomed the bridegroom’s family into his house.
The formal function of the bridegroom handing over gifts to the bride’s family was started by giving both her parents “MaMsibi mother of the bride and Tshabalala father of the bride”. Vuyisile is from a polygamy family which is so united and full of harmony.
In total thirty-one relatives received their gifts on this day. The list went on to the Msibi’s family.
After receiving their gifts they would sing from the bottom of their heart and there were tears of joy especially from Vuyisile’s mother.
It is normal for the mother of a girl to feel that way during Umembeso. The mother usually feels anxious, thinking if umembeso will be successful or not, and if everybody is going to be satisfied or not.
Added by knowledge that very soon, her child is going to get married and she’s no longer going to be near her.
It is a point that the parent realises that their child has really grown up and is no longer a child but an adult.
When I went outside the yard I over heard the bridegroom’s conversation with her friends, I quote: “tell me, how are things going inside?” and the friend answered “everything is fine; it is going according to plan.”
The feeling is mutual when the bridegroom is waiting outside not knowing what is happening indoors, a person becomes very curious to know or see if everything is alright.
The receiving of gifts continued and they were all satisfied singing and shrilling conveying their gratitude to the bridegroom’s family.
After the whole ceremony of giving gifts, Tshabalala s thanked the bridegroom’s family and directed everybody to the second session.
People settled on the side where the engagement was going to take place. The bride’s family was busy with refreshments and lunch.
People were so relaxed and enjoying their food. At that time the program director was welcoming Happy and Vuyisile to the front table which was beautifully prepared. They were accompanied by Happy’s friends.
Behind the scene the Tshabalala family was busy slaughtering the goats.
Dr (Pastor) Z. Zungu (VMCI) blessed the ring and also highlighted a few things about sexual orientation because she was aware that people are not familiar with that ceremony.
Dr Z. Zungu said, “today I came to bless this engagement ring to tie these partners together and forever. After the post-apartheid government in 1994…, South African government legalized same sex marriage in 2006.”
The ceremony was accepted by both families and their relatives. I love the way Happy and Vuyisile’s friends showed their support.
It was the best motivation for other LGBTI’s and for other families to see that this can happily happen, its not a curse but it’s all about love between two human beings.
The ceremony was phenomenal, attended by people who share different norms, colour, identities, caste, ages, socioeconomic status and cultural background that all blended well.
Looking at their facial expressions, the traditional attire, lesbians were wearing their best outfits and matched with their partners.
There were friends who grew up with Happy and Vuyisile, colleagues and friends from church that support them.
It is also known that this population is suspected of violating cultural gender norms from the cultural beliefs perspectives and the cultural norms.
We acknowledge that you’ve kept the cultural norms of paying lobola as it is. We will never forget your special day and we are happy that as Inkanyiso we were chosen to document this day for you.
We really appreciate it and we are looking forward to the big day…
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