Are you single and tired of the Online Dating Sites that seem to only give you part impression of the women you meet? Have you considered looking for a foreign bride, Africa probably did not place very high on your list, and you are probably not even sure why that is.
Romantic relationships play a big part in our physical, social, career and emotional wellbeing.
In this article, I am going to skip all stages of hunting, dating and go straight to talk about an African engagement ceremony. The Kambas call it Ntheo and the Kikuyus call it Gurario.
I will talk of my community – Akamba – as the Ntheo ceremonies are what I enjoy most. However, in almost all the Kenyan Bantu communities, there are similarities on the engagement party. What might differ is the items requested for. When all is said and done, Kenya is a great place to meet women for love and marriage. A sovereign country, Kenya is characterized by rich ethnic groups and before the dawn of modernity, most customary marriages were formerly conducted along tribal lines. In the recent past, marriage trends demonstrate that young people are now breaking these conservative limitations by exercising intermarriage between tribes and races. Lucky you.
Now that you have fallen in love or are in a serious relationship that could lead to marriage with an Akamba woman, prepare yourself for a series of courtship rituals, some of which have endured even in the face of rising modernity. Regardless of whether you plan to wed in a church or after any other faith or even under the customary law.
The bottom line is the groom and his clan must meet some basic requirements and perform specific rituals highly regarded among the Kamba community as the minimum threshold for a typical legitimate marriage. As a matter of fact, the rituals have been viciously preserved throughout generations and still remain a significant identity and cultural value revered by everyone in the community, their social class notwithstanding.
Before a marriage ceremony is conducted, the groom (with his clan) must throw a party popularly referred to as Ntheo. Ntheo is actually the minimum requirement that demonstrates the bride officially belongs to the man she is engaged to. The traditional drums (Kilumi) can be heard miles away on this day.
Here is an overview of some of the items a bridegroom needs during the traditional wedding:
Two drums of honey (Ithembe), two blankets and two bed sheets. These items can be presented physically or in monetary form.
Another interesting thing that you must have to walk away with the woman who makes your days brighter is a big goat (ndua itaa). The goat is usually presented to the parents of the bride as a symbol of the bed used by the bride while at her home. To show your readiness to have her as the mother of your children, you will be required to throw a mega party to your in-laws.
Later, a ceremony dubbed Ilute will be conducted in which a huge castrated bull is slaughtered. Friends and other relatives will be invited to share the meal.
Those in attendance will present the bride with all sorts of gifts that she can carry to her matrimonial home. The parents of the bride are expected to present the in- laws to be with a male and female goat (mbui sya maleo).
These animals are also referred to as “goats of divorce”. The parents of the bridegroom have the right to request their in-laws to return the goats in the event of a break-up.