Wedding traditions in Bostwana share a common thread in terms of values, views, and experiences with other African regions. You may celebrate your heritage and honor your ancestry by incorporating your customs and traditions in your wedding ceremony and reception. Aside from performing traditional rituals, couples can also incorporate ethnic touches into its wedding program and reception. Couples should know their wedding traditions. It is important that they understand the reason behind these traditions and the history of the traditions because this will enable couples to perform the traditions more sincerely.
Generally, there are similar requirements for traditional ceremonies throughout Botswana with variations. Different cultures around Botswana have their different traditions when it comes to weddings. The following are five of the most common wedding traditions in Botswana.
Here are five of the most common customs and traditions in a Botswana Wedding.
- Traditional Vs. Civil
Its common in Botswana to do the traditional ceremony, the civil ceremony as well as the white wedding. However some couples do the traditional and the civil ceremonies only. Society still places a lot of respect on traditional ceremonies to the extent that if a couple only has the civil ceremony, they are not considered married.
- The Kgosi
The Kgosi is the chief of the tribe who will also officiate the wedding.
- Women Outfit
For the women, traditional dress is required, which means a skirt and blouse, a shawl, and a head covering. One rule the Kgosi would not waive was the requirement that the women sit apart from the men, and on the floor. The men had chairs to sit on, but the women sat on the hard concrete floor.
The groom’s family goes through a lengthy process to get into agreements with the bride’s family. This is when and where Lebola (bride price) is paid. The groom has to bring the cows for Lebola. The normal bride price in Kanye is 8 cows; if the couple has had a child out of wedlock prior to the Lebola goes up to 9 cows (the extra cow paid for “trespassing”).
- Wedding Notice
Couples have to announce their wedding 21 days prior to the event. During that time anyone who objects can make that known to the Kgosi. A wedding cannot take place unless both sets of parents agree. In the absence of parents there would be some other family member, grandparents, uncles or aunts, to stand in for parents and give consent. Also, the groom is required to build a house for the couple to live in before the wedding can take place.
Most marriages in Botswana are civil ceremonies. However, there are still traditional marriage ceremonies according to custom at home, and many have a church wedding, too. People may marry according to customary property provisions or civil community property arrangements, but in both the woman is disadvantaged, and the husband is likely to control the property. Divorce may be sought by women and men, with common reasons including adultery, failure to provide support or household labor, and abuse.