27 September 2010

wedding in Lesotho

The alarm rang at 4am - and it took a lot of mental convincing that I really did want to get out of bed... but by the time we rounded the corner to our friend's house in Zandspruit and started out on our 6 hour road trip, we were in full anticipation for the weekend's activities.

We've been looking forward to this day for months.

The wedding of our dear friends, Orapeleng and Dijaba.

Dikeledi and I sat in the back seat and ate candy and talked about hairstyles and planned imaginary dinner parties and talked about what kind of livestock we'd buy if we lived out here in rural South Africa. We crossed the border into the small country of Lesotho and finally entered into the town Dijaba had grown up in. We heard the women before we saw them, beating on buckets and trilling as only African women can - the neighborhood erupted in celebration of our arrival - of the groom and his big extended Joburg family.

That day and all through the night was a scurry of preparations. The guys set up the huge tent that would house the wedding. Girls peeled and chopped and cooked and decorated long into the early hours of the morning. Dances were practiced till 1am.

And then came the morning - early and filled with excitement. We were dressed by 9, waiting for the pastor. Last minute chakalaka pots. One more practice at the dance that will bring the guys into the tent... the groom coming from afar to claim his bride. And with that, the day began. Dancing and singing. Fancy dresses and sweet looks between friends. Speeches and kisses and pictures and feasting and scads of neighborhood children gathering around the sides of the tent to catch a glimpse of the activity inside.

By the end of the day, we were tired and happy and our hearts were full to bursting.

Ora and Dijaba were married.
Absolute bliss.

After the formal wedding the most beautiful thing happened. Really - cultural traditions can be such rich things. The guys all changed in to their traditional attire and came dancing down the hill toward the house singing a song together... as they approached the house where the Dijaba was, she and her family came out and began singing their own song while dancing forward in two lines. As Ora's family (friends) came nearer, the girls all separated and the groom danced right up the middle where he and his bride joined together in the dance , everyone switching to the one song the guys had been singing all along. Then we all danced and sang around the grounds and in to the tent once again.

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