It’s Monday 20th October 2008 and Celebrations!


It’s Monday 20th October 2008 and Celebrations!

Robin and I had been invited to the wedding of the son of The Honorable Chief Kakumbi who was marrying the beautiful Nyangu Maimisa. The wedding was to be held at the Kalawani Pans under the magnificent and very old winterthorn trees. Now this area has become the “celebration” hot spot where we now sing our Christmas carols and over the last month we have already had a wedding and a memorial service. At some point elephants usually appear and it is known that a mamba lives in the tamarind tree which is usually the centre piece – although to date it has not yet appeared at the wrong moment. But it does not take much imagination to visualize a hilarious scene! Anyway….off the point – I was sadly unwell and could not go so I have asked Robin to jot down some notes for you……

Daudi and wife Jessie looking very smartdrummers and  dancers taking a rest

“A large area had been leveled and shelters erected in a half circle where dignitaries could seek shelter from the hot October sun. It was a large turn out – everyone from Chiefs, the Mfuwe business hierarchy, the safari community and Government officials. Drums were beating and a group of dancers performed attired in brightly coloured “chitenges” (traditional cloth).

“Chewa” representatives arrived from the high countryChief Kakumbi  arriving

After some time the shadows lengthened with the sinking afternoon sun and with much yodeling a senior party of “Chewa” representatives arrived from the high country. They were particularly magnificently turned out with traditional heirlooms of leopard, serval and mongoose skins hanging from their waists and wrapped around their heads along with cowhide shields and knob kerries. One of these dignitaries included the well known and much loved football commentator Mr Dennis Liwewe. The ladies with feathers stylishly set in their carefully woven hair and delightfully dressed in Chitenges looked resplendent.

The Honorable Chief Kakumbi, in a smart suit and Akubra hat from Australia, together with the District Commissioner, welcomed the arriving Chewa party. Once all were settled the equivalent of the bridesmaids and ushers danced out in columns from a grass sitenji (hut), gyrating in interweaving lines. One of the well known herbalists joined the dance. With much yodeling the Bride and Groom appeared and were greeted and honored by the entourage. A short ceremony followed where they gave their vows, amongst a great party of family and guests. After the ceremony the Bride and Groom took their places at the centre table and received well wishers flanked by the dancers.

Bridesmaids and Ushers enter dancingThe Bride and  Groom

As it got dark the party began, dancing and feasting on a couple buffalo carefully cooked in the ground Maori style (organized by Steve and Kiri from New Zealand). The celebrating went on into the night and early hours of the morning. A wonderful celebration indeed”

The dignitaries  have a 'wiggle'

Thank you Robin. Looking at the photos I love the combination of tradition and modern. The old skins and shields along with the suits and as in the photo – a video camera. There is also the issue of time. I am reading a wonderful book called The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski (ISBN 978 0 141 03532 1). Highly recommended! He is a Polish journalist and travelled all over Africa during the turbulent time when Africa was shedding the colonialist rulers and taking power. He traveled often by local bus and talks about “time”. To an African time is when an event starts. “When is the bus leaving?” Answer: “when it is full” or even “when it leaves”. And before – that the bus is not due to go. So when you are invited to a wedding saying “time: 1300hrs” there was speculation. What time to go? Everyone guessed around 1430 and boy were they wrong – by another 2 hours!! So the white safari community sat in the sun looking at their watches and getting hot and flustered. While the African community sat, still and patiently, probably not even thinking about time. The time is when it starts. How I envy that ability!

the tradional and modern meet

So…..that is it for the week. A wedding missed for me and a wonderful celebration for those there. The last photo cannot be resisted. My sister Martha flew in by helicopter to do a couple of days filming for the BBC and I had a helicopter parked outside my house. How cool is that. After the first landing we had to put down the rain blinds as the house was simply full of dust. Oops.

Have a great week.

Squirrel  Helicopter outside RoJo House!

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