So I finally created my own blog – about damn time. I’ve been dying for a platform on which I can rant and rave and splash my frustrations. Because at the end of each day I feel like I’m about to burst as my heart and mind is filled with wonder of an interesting/unknown experience or venture of the day. While my shoulders carry by their lonesome the heavy load of typical problems of a 20 something. Sometimes I just cannot believe the things I get up to. Like last Saturday for instance – I was involved in lobola (dowry) negotiations for my big brother… No, I did not mean Ebola, I totally mean LOBOLA peeps.
About 2 months ago, my big brother called a family meeting with me, my uncle (utat’omncinci), mom, aunt (umakazi) & my big sis. I think you might have gathered by now that I’m the last born… He told us that he felt he was ready to put a ring on it to his girlfriend of five years. Obviously we were pretty happy about this decision as she’s an amazing soul that we all love. He then asked to be alone with uTat’omncinci to discuss about lobola. But as I was exiting the room, he called me back in and asked me: “You’re a man (went to Xhosa initiation school), aren’t you?”
I hesitantly replied: “Yes.”
Then he said: “Then sit down so we can discuss ilobola.” I played it cool like it ain’t no biggie, but it really touched my heart to be shown such respect by my brother (12 years my senior).
We spoke about the team we entrusted and needed to assemble. We decided the team would consist of five people: 2 uncles from my dad’s side (Emayirheni), 2 uncles from my mom’s side (Emampondweni) and me being the fifth wheel. I mockingly named this team the “Zolani Black Mambazo” (Zolani being my township). The Zolani Black Mambazo had regular meetings at my house of how to handle the proceedings as the negotiating team on the bride’s side is usually full of tricks they use to milk as much money as they can from the groom’s team.
4 p.m. Saturday November the 29th. The day had finally arrived. After everyone had come back from funerals, Zolani Black Mambazo (minus one late member) put on their jackets, grabbed their sticks, got on to my uncle’s taxi and went to our future makoti’s home. I had been growing my beard for weeks, to fit the occasion…lol… When we got there, everyone had their game faces on. We got off the taxi and they sent me to go knock on the front door and say: “You’ve got guests.” My forehead gleamed with nervous sweat, but I executed my first task perfectly. We were told to go to the back yard.
We found perfectly placed seat and benches and sat down.
– Before I go any further, I have to explain to you that the information I will be sharing with you will be limited, as lobola negotiations are regarded as a sacred and somewhat secret custom –
We sat alone for about 15 minutes. My eldest uncle that was there joked that they (bride’s team) are trying to make us sweat already. After 15 minutes they sent their youngest member to ask us whether we’re lost or something. Our reply was: “This is the exact address we were sent to.” Then went back to tell his elders our reply. Barely a minute later, we saw two elderly gentleman, a younger gentleman & the man that had just spoken to us. Greetings that lacked smiles were shared.
We were asked who sent us to their humble abode. We replied that we were sent by the grandson of the Amayirha clan. We were asked what business did he send us to do in their home. We said that the grandson of the Amayirha clan has seen a very beautiful and rare flower in the garden of the Amanzaba clan. So he sent us to ask permission to pick this flower, place it in a vase & take care of it for the remainder of its life.
I was in total awe of the riddles & poetry being coughed up by my uncles, as I expected a straight forward thing whereby we place the “cows” (lobola money) on the table, they tell us she’s officially our bride & we get drunk in celebration. Boy was I wrong…
They asked if we could identify this beautiful flower in the midst of other equally beautiful flowers. We all in unison gave a solid “yes”. The old man went into the house, ten moments later emerged with two ladies. One of them was Bonita (my big brother’s girlfriend), and the other one… Yes, the other one. The other one was an angel. This girl as so damn fine. I know this is inappropriate, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. We were asked to point at the “flower” we were sent for. My uncles pointed at Bonita. Then the old man asked Bonita if she knew us. With a beautiful smile planted on her face, she did not hesitate to say yes she does. As the ladies made their way back inside the house, my eyes were still glued on this gorgeous dark chocolate beside Bonita. She disappeared without me hearing what her name was.
The old man asked us if we were aware that the flower we were here to pick is the pillar of this home. My uncles said yes we were, which is why we were sent there bearing gifts. When the old man asked what gifts we were talking about, the last member of the Zolani Black Mambazo – almost an hour late. All the seats were filled, so me being the youngest of all, I had the misfortune of being the one he asked to rise so he can sit. So I got up & sat my bony ass on a brick. From then on I didn’t hear a single word of the negotiations as my mind was thinking of the “other lady”. Who was she?
As I sat there like a love-sick puppy, I suddenly felt a hand tapping my shoulder, telling me to count the money. I was handed an amazingly large amount of cash that I unfortunately cannot disclose with y’all (askies). I counted & handed it to their counter who also did as I did & got the same result I did. All was well. More gifts were exchanged until the bride’s team was finally satisfied with our offerings.
The makotis of the Amanzaba clan brought for us Umqombothi, brandy/whiskey & soft drinks to quench our thirst. It was a job very well done by the Zolani Black Mambazo & we went home to tell my big brother of how everything went.
I always knew my big brother really loved me, but most of my life I’ve always thought he respected me. But this was an amazing venture he sent me on. I saw it as a sign of respect from him, for which I’m grateful for. I also wish my father was still alive to witness all of this. He must be beaming where ever he is. I can’t wait for the wedding next year. I hope I meet my crush once more. But for now her name remains “Dark Chocolate”…lol…
’till next time peeps, STAY GOODEST!